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How to be more sustainable at home: 6 basic tips

Have you been wondering how to live more sustainably? Although it might initially seem like a daunting and expensive task, a few small changes to your daily routine can make a real difference to both the environment and your wallet. Follow our top tips on how to be more sustainable at home without spending any more money!

1. Save energy by reducing your consumption and changing your shopping habits

Reducing your energy consumption is much easier than it seems. All you need to do is change a few habits and choose carefully when shopping. In terms of your habits, simple changes can make all the difference, like switching off the lights when you leave a room, not overusing the air-conditioning, hanging out your washing instead of using the tumble dryer, only running the dishwasher when full and using the oven to cook more than one dish at a time.

In terms of shopping smart, try switching your normal bulbs for energy-saving LED bulbs – it will make a big difference to your energy bills. And make sure that you always check the energy efficiency of any new appliance before you buy. Making these small changes will reduce your energy consumption, which is good for both the environment and for your wallet. Try it out!

2. Make small changes to reduce your water consumption

Water is a limited resource that we should appreciate and conserve. Small changes we can make at home include turning off the tap while we brush our teeth, taking a shower instead of a bath and only using the dishwasher or washing machine when full.

Using more efficient appliances or systems at home can also make a big difference: for example, energy-efficient dishwashers or water-efficient garden irrigation systems.

Something as simple as choosing the right tap can have a big impact, as tap design affects water consumption. That’s why IKEA kitchen and bathroom taps are fitted with aerators, which reduce consumption by up to 40% without affecting water flow.

3. Organise your food to prevent waste

Organising your kitchen can make all the difference when it comes to responsible food consumption. Keep everything tidy and in view and you’re more likely to make use of the ingredients you have and less likely to end up throwing food away.

Why not store your leftovers in the fridge in glass food containers? They keep food fresh for much longer and ensure that your dishes lose none of their flavour. And, as they’re transparent, you won’t forget what’s inside. Believe it or not, one of the main reasons that food ends up in the bin is simply that it has been forgotten about.

These containers are also really useful for organising fresh food, both inside and outside the fridge. For example, they’re great for keeping fruit and vegetables separate, as the ethylene in some fruits can cause vegetables to spoil.

You can also use them in your pantry to store pulses, pasta, rice, nuts etc. That way, not only will your ingredients be better organised, they’ll be completely sealed and will keep for much longer too. All this will help reduce the impact of your food consumption, while also saving you money every month.

In case you need a little help getting started, here’s a video showing you how to organise your fridge in a flash. It’s easier than you think!

    4. Sort your waste to make recycling easier

    As we all know, recycling starts at home – and the first step is to sort our waste. However, even though we know better, if we leave it to chance and don’t use the right products to help us, we can still end up not recycling properly.

    That’s why we recommend you create a dedicated space that’s designed especially for recycling. As you can see in the photo, having separate bins for different kinds of waste (organic, paper and cardboard, plastic etc.) makes recycling much easier and means there’s no excuse for not achieving our goal of protecting the environment.

    And, if you don’t have enough space for multiple bins, don’t worry! There are plenty of IKEA solutions to choose from, such as waste separators for a single bin or pull-out bins.

    5. Protect and extend the life of the things you already own

    A key step towards being more sustainable is to take care of the things you already own (furniture, textiles, accessories etc.) to ensure that they last as long as possible, thereby reducing your consumption. This means using objects correctly, protecting them properly and occasionally giving them some extra care to extend their life.

    For example, treating wooden furniture every once in a while with a special wood treatment product, such as our STOCKARYD oil, will keep it looking great and make it last much longer. Another top tip is to apply a coat of VÅRDA varnish to any outdoor timber furniture.

    When it comes to mattresses or sofas, it’s important to use protective covers and to give them a regular deep clean to keep them in the best possible condition. Textiles should be washed regularly in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

    6. Opt for sustainably produced furniture and textiles

    As we mentioned, the most important thing is to take care of the items we already own. But if you’re moving house or need to renovate, there’s also a variety of more sustainably manufactured options to choose from. Here at IKEA, we use wood responsibly and ensure that almost all our timber comes from responsibly managed forests. Wood is a durable, renewable and recyclable material, making it one of the best options for home furniture.

    When it comes to textiles, since 2015 all the cotton we use has been grown using less water and fewer chemicals, which increases the profits earned by cotton farmers and their families. So you can be sure that your bed linen, curtains and other home fabrics are made from a material that’s good for you and good for the environment.

    Where should you start? Take things slowly and you’ll be more likely to fully embrace the changes and stick with them. And if you want to learn more about sustainability, click on this link for lots of interesting information.

    We love it when customers use our products in a creative way. Why not try to do something new with them yourself? But do remember, any modifications or changes that you make to IKEA products will prevent them from being resold or used for their original use, thus invalidating IKEA product warranties and your right to return.