Iittala Vintage service gives old dishes a new life. With a circular operating model, second-hand utensils can circulate to new homes and dining tables.
Instead of following the linear way of doing business, the service encourages citizens to use new sustainable operating models influenced by the sharing economy, lengthening product life cycles through active reuse. The service repurchases intact Iittala, Arabia, dishes, and glassware for an affordable price. When customers sell their old items to the Vintage service, they can choose their fee to be cash or a gift card. Chipped or flawed condition items are recycled as material instead of recycled products.
Two local companies reuse the sidestream recycled waste of the service. Ceramics are crushed into a fine powder used in the manufacture of bricks, while the crushed glass is utilized as material to manufacture insulation materials. There are no compensation fees for recycled items, and the company encourages customers to bring glass, ceramics, and other materials as frying pans into their stores for recycling purposes.
The practice provides a low threshold solution for citizens to reuse. Citizens may also rent tableware to household use or bigger parties, for instance, like weddings. Fiskars has changed product development to service development where the focus is not to sell products but to provide products, selling a sharing economy service instead of a product.
Active citizen participation is vital in the new business model influenced by the sharing economy where citizens are the main driver, contributor, and user of the service.
Evidence of success
Buying and selling used dishes have concrete, positive effects on the environment. An environmental savings calculation carried out by Fiskars group and Helsinki Recycling Centre calculated that in 2019, vintage service saved more than 133,000 kilograms of natural resources and reduced carbon emissions by more than 45,000 kilograms.
In Finland, glassware and ceramics are disposed of without recycling. The vintage service brings possibilities of recycling and reuse to twenty cities in Finland.
Active citizen participation as a seller and buyer is crucial for the success of the service. Purchasing prices are based on the item's size and quality, but opinions of item prices can vary between the buyer and the vendor.
Potential for learning or transfer
The pilot of the service was performed in the summer of 2019 in Helsinki. It received excellent feedback; the service has been impressive and positive nationwide. Iittala store in Lahti implemented the sharing economy service in early 2020. Customers found it an easy and reliable way to recycle unnecessary utensils and add vintage discoveries to their collections.
A minor obstacle is the low purchasing price for second-hand products, making the citizen hesitant to sell. Meanwhile, the key success factor is that Iittala and Arabia dishes are generic jet very popular and found in almost every Finn's home. The Vintage service lets the stories of past generations continue.
Fiskars Group is the oldest business still operating in Finland, founded in 1649. Fiskars group bought in 2007 the glassware brand Iittala founded in 1881 and ceramics brand Arabia founded in 1873.