Skip to main content

The Sustainable Living Project


Sustainable Living Project
What is the Sustainable Living Project?
We believe that even the smallest changes can create a big impact. There are many ways to live kinder and contribute a positive change to the environment and it starts from your home. We believe that everyone should be able to live a sustainable life at home without spending more, drastically changing the way they live, or compromising on style and quality.

That is why we have come up with the Sustainable Living Project - a movement that is designed to help you make small changes in your homes in order to save energy, conserve water, recycle & reduce waste, live healthier. We want to show you what we believe in, and how you can create this in your own home.

We are delighted to announce that 3 household participants have been selected out of hundreds of entries and they are :

  • Bernard Koh Wee Tong
  • Chew Ken Wee
  • Seow Jing Ru

Let's meet the families!
Sustainable stories
sustainable storiesKinder

Family 1: Detached house

Meet the Chew family. The 3-generation Chew family home is filled with curiosity and entrepreneurialism. Busy lifestyles, along with some uncertainty, held them back from starting their sustainability journey. With support from IKEA the Chew family is ready to walk the walk.

Mr. Chew & his family

“Singapore has no natural resources to rely on. Growing up here made us aware of our limited energy and water resources and the importance of not wasting them. We want to change our habits, reduce our household utility consumption and lower our bills by being more mindful and aware of how our small actions do add up to big savings.”

Energy saving

Before : Ken’s parents spend time in the living area, reading and watching TV, with 12 fluorescent ceiling lights turned on.

After : After installing two LED mood lights, TROSS adjustable spots and SVIRVEL floor lamp, they both enjoy a pleasant and relaxing living room atmosphere. Furthermore, the new lighting solution uses less than 30% of the energy compared to the old lighting solution where 12 fluorescent ceiling lights turned on.

“After switching to IKEA LED light fixtures and LED bulbs in our TV and dining area, the entire ambience and atmosphere of the room has been totally transformed. We used to have to deal with the glare from our old fluorescent light bulbs, but now we find that it's much more relaxing and cooler too!"

"I never realised that I have been watching television programmes with so much glare and reflection from our old lights. With the LED lights from IKEA providing much better all-around lighting, the colour and resolution of the soccer games is much improved!"

Waste management

Before : Ken’s family relies on a 20 year-old kitchen, a black bin to sort recyclables and general waste, as well as a pink container in the sink for food waste separation.

After : VARIERA / UTRUSTA 4-bin pull-out waste sorting solution can be installed in almost any kitchen and makes waste sorting simple and tidy. They use one bin for recyclables, one bin for general waste, one bin for bulbs, and one bin for compostable food waste.

“I have put the compost bins to good use. I transferred all my compost-in-making into three bins and I was amazed by its capacity in accommodating so many bags of the material (vegetable and fruit peels, dried leaves and shredded newspapers). The lids are tight and waterproof; which help seal in the moisture and keep the insects (and Bruno our dog) out!”

Wet waste management

Before : Cooking and laundry take place in the wet kitchen. Both activities requires a solid storage solution.

After : ALGOT post system is easy to install and secure almost anywhere and is also flexible to accommodate for household appliances. The powder coated metal is ideal to use in damp and covered areas, like wet kitchens. SORTERA waste sorting bins and SAMLA storage boxes offers large enough capacity to accommodate the needs of any home.

Energy saving

Before : Florence enjoys spending time gardening, which accumulates a fair bit of biodegradable waste. She would use plastic bags to compost food and garden waste, which later would be used to grow a variety of plants and vegetables.

After : HINDÖ shelving and lockable cabinet keeps Florence’s gardening tools organised while keeping dogs and curious children safe. KLÄMTARE box, which has been slightly modified with holes in the bottom to allow for drainage, is used for composting instead of plastic bags.

“In the past the fruit and vegetable peels took longer time to turn into compost as they got wet when the rain water seeps through the styrofoam box lid. I got insects and centipedes in the compost too, now with the IKEA bins with tight lids to house the compost, the fermentation process is much faster and more effective! It sealed the water, smell and insects out yet keeps the moisture in and the temperature high. I will "harvest" dry and fragrant compost soon!”


Several weeks later : Florence has been composting with KLÄMTARE box for a few weeks. All the green waste from cooking and gardening breaks down fast while it keeps any unwanted critters away. The compost is odourless and hardly requires any maintenance - just a minute of mixing every few days or so.

“The KLÄMTARE boxes composts faster and is much sturdier than my old styrofoam boxes. They also do a good job keeping the dog from eating up the food scraps.”

Compost is a great fertiliser and a natural pesticide. Florence uses it regularly to top up her potted plants and herbs. The healthy composts contain a natural balance of bacteria and fungi. Worms are perhaps the best sign of a healthy compost and Florence proudly points out when she spots a wiggly one.

“This compost is very good for my plants and I am so happy everytime I see a new flower bloom!”

The Chew family lived a more sustainable life at home for the past three months. They noticed significant energy savings partly due to changing over to LED lights, but also because of changes in everyone's behaviour. Heightened awareness of energy usage encouraged the family to only use lighting and air conditioning when needed and this resulted in 40% energy savings. Although recycling was at a good level already, they managed to increase it with another 20%. The most impressive progress was perhaps the 50% decrease in water usage. This was done by investing in additional KLÄMTARE boxes which they used for saving laundry water for cleaning the wet kitchen floor. They also used boxes for saving shower water, which they used for flushing. Very impressive!

Family 2: 5-room HDB flat

Meet Jing and Neo, a working couple living in a 5-room HDB in Ang Mo Kio. When they acquired their flat a year and a half ago, the couple took conscious steps to install LED lights, water saving taps, and other water- and energy- efficient household items. They recently started collecting soft drink tins for recycling, and are ready to take the next steps into living more sustainably with IKEA!

Jing and Neo

"We only have one Mother Earth. Every one of us has the responsibility to ensure that She is there for future generations. Every small step counts and it can start from home.”

Energy saving

Before : Jing and Neo’s balcony is subject to the west side sun each day. With no proper window treatment previously, their whole house felt very warm.

After : TRIPPEVALS block-out cellular blinds, and FJÄDERKLINT curtains with RÄCKA / HUGAD curtain rod were provided as a solution. The blinds can be adjusted in height depending on the brightness the couple requires, while the curtain layering also provides the same flexibility. On top of this the TRIPPEVALS block-out has a honeycomb feature that helps reduce room temperature.

“The solution has helped to bring down temperature of the areas where we could turn down the fan and reduce the times of turning on aircon. This will greatly help to reduce the amount of energy used in the long run!”

Battery waste management

We asked Jing and her husband to count the number of batteries they were currently using for their home devices. They were shocked to find a total of 27 AAA batteries and 20 AA batteries!

For this, we have installed the STORHÖGEN battery charger with storage which fit perfectly on their bookshelf. We also gave them some LADDA rechargeable batteries to help reduce their battery waste.

Energy saving

Before : Like their balcony, the couple’s bedroom also faces west and becomes unavoidably warm at certain times of the day.

After : TRIPPEVALS blockout cellular blinds were also used for Jing and Neo’s bedroom, but in combination with VIDGA panel curtain holder and ANNO TUPLUR panel curtains. This solution not only blocks out the heat, but gives privacy and contributes to a more relaxing atmosphere in their bedroom.

“We are definitely coming back to a cooler home daily now, and managed to reduce our use of fan/air conditioner. We’ve tracked the past weeks of power usage, and compared to the month of September where usage is around 242.7kWh, October usage is 229kWh! That is a 6% of savings even during the period where the weather is considerably hotter.”

Waste management

Before : The couple has allotted one corner in the kitchen where they keep aside items for recycling. These build up over time without any form of organization put in place.

After : We recommended to install ALGOT storage solution to help Jing and her husband organise their utility area, and paired this solution with FIRRA boxes with lid to help make their waste sorting more efficient. A highlight to this is FIRRA’s wheels which allows the couple to hide, but at the same time, easily access the garbage chute right behind the recycling area.

“Participating in the Sustainable Living Project has made us more conscious about the things we used every day even outside of home...

It was definitely helpful for IKEA to come and help us. IKEA comes in to offer ready solutions that include their existing products. This is very good for those who are clueless or have too many solutions but don’t know where to start.”

Family 3: 4-room HDB flat

Say hello to Bernard, a “greenie” who is committed to saving more by using less. He lives with his mother in a 4-room HDB flat in Bedok. He already lives sustainably– taking steps to recycle and reduce waste, as well as minimise energy and water use. Bernard’s journey with IKEA will be all about refining his sustainable practices at home, and also encouraging himself to live a healthier lifestyle.

Mr. Bernand and his mother

"Healthy living and caring for the environment starts from home and we are delighted to work together with IKEA to encourage and motivate more families in Singapore."

Ergonomic workspace

Before : Bernard would spend long hours sitting at home, staring at blank walls while working in front of his computer. This contributed to his poor posture, and could cause a strain on his neck and shoulders.

After : Bernard’s work table is replaced with the BEKANT standing desk to encourage more movement and better posture. As a personal touch, we’ve recommended the OSTED rug for better comfort while standing, and also more greenery to lessen stress in his work environment.

“I have slowly made the switch to standing by using the BEKANT standing desk. It was not easy in the beginning as I am very used to sitting in front of the computer. I tend to slouch in the past, but the standing desk has allowed me to become more conscious of my posture while working. Standing has also allowed me to work on tasks faster. The experience of using the OSTED rug was awesome. My feet has felt less weary and it was comfortable to be standing on the rug for a prolonged period of time.”

Ergonomic workspace

Before : Bernard’s work area looked bare. He shared that staring at blank walls made him feel more tired since he would work all day in that environment.

After : We recommended to install the SUNNERSTA rail and containers so Bernard can easily add a bit more greenery into his work space, and have a more relaxing environment for work.

“Living a more sustainable life at home is important to me, as I have always believed in less is more. The introduction of the standing desk into my workspace was the most significant change."

Battery waste management

Before : With three working adults in Bernard’s home, the use of batteries is common for their remote controls and other gadgets. Reducing battery waste was the goal, as they were quite difficult to dispose of.

After : Bernard usually uses batteries for eight remote controls, two wireless mouse, two headlamps, and one cordless phone. Providing him with the STORHÖGEN battery charger helps him reduce battery waste, and efficiently charge up to 12 batteries in one go.

“The best part is that the charger will switch off by itself automatically when the batteries are fully charged! I would also like to share that the usage of the recyclable batteries was very useful for my family… We have significantly reduced the number of batteries that we used to buy in the past.”

Waste management

Before : Recyclables collection area in Bernard’s kitchen would get cluttered and in the way of everyone at home when the items pile up. Not only that, it was also an eyesore in their clean space!

After : SORTERA waste sorting bins with lid are put in place. This encourages Bernard to be more organised when sorting his recyclable waste into general plastics, bottles, and paper. Bernard also includes receipts and pamphlets as these are commonly kept by households, but usually missed out on recycling.

“Joining the Sustainable Living Project was indeed a fruitful experience as I could only do so much on my own. Working with IKEA to explore other areas of sustainable solutions has enable me to make more well-informed decisions. I felt that it was beneficial as IKEA has helped both my family to live a more sustainable lifestyle by having a home furnishing specialist on hand to speak and discuss how we can improve our living situation.”

Reduce energy
Today’s homes have a lot of modern techniques and technologies that use up energy. The consumption can be reduced, and money can be saved, by using energy-efficient products and sustainable home furnishing solutions.
Some food can be cooked in one pot at the same time using inserts. This reduces energy-use while cooking.
LED lighting reduces energy-use by up to 85% compared to incandescent bulbs.
Textiles can be used to make the indoor climate more comfortable, either warmer or cooler, and thereby reducing energy use.
Hanging laundry and airing semi-clean clothes and textiles instead using the washer and dryer reduces energy-use.
Energy saving | Waste & recycling | Water saving | Healthy living
Reduce waste and recycle
Reducing waste and recycling is something everybody can do – from small homes to big businesses. It’s a matter of changing our mind-set from “waste” to “resource”. The simplest way to reduce waste, and save money, is to only use what we need.
Waste needs to be sorted so that it can be recycled or re-used.
Waste is minimised when furniture is repaired or given new life.
Textiles can be recycled to serve new purposes.
Food containers with lids keep food freshness and nutritional content longer and help to reduce food waste.
Reduce water use
Out of all the water on Earth, less than three percent is fresh (non-saline) water. Everyone can contribute to conserving this precious, shared resource by being more conscious about their habits at home.
Doing dishes under a running tap wastes a lot of water. This can be reduced by using a bowl or sink with water.
A filled dishwasher is more water-efficient than washing dishes by hand.
All IKEA taps are equipped with a water-saving device and many also have a cold-start function to reduce unnecessary use of hot water.
Cold water that is caught before it heats up in the shower can be used for household chores like watering plants.
Live a healthier life
Living a sustainable life starts with our own health. This could be about having access to clean drinking water and breathing clean air and also about knowing what we eat. A healthier life could also be about integrating more movement into everyday activities.
Standing stimulates the circulation and reduces potentially harmful effects from sitting too long.
Growing your own herbs and vegetables, supports a more conscious and healthier life at home that children can learn from.
Play and movement promotes a good night’s sleep and increases resistance to illness.
Biking is a healthy and environmentally-friendly choice
Message box

Co-worker stories - Kumar

Meet Kumar, a Logistics Co-worker at the IKEA Alexandra in Singapore. He lives with his wife and three children in a 4-room HDB flat in Bukit Merah. Kumar also works part-time at Orchard and has to commute at odd hours sometimes. Kumar is keen on saving both transportation costs and making an effort to live more sustainably by biking to his two jobs. When co-workers were given a chance to take home some products from the IKEA More Sustainable Life at Home range, he gladly volunteered.

Kumar, a Logistics Co-worker at the IKEA Alexandra in Singapore.

Kumar has been working in logistics since 1997. “It’s a good job but at times it can be tough. Biking to and from work is not”, he says with a smile.

Kumar is cycling SLADDA bicycle

“I like the SLADDA bike because it’s sturdy enough to carry whatever I need for work. I use it when I go grocery shopping too.”

SLADDA bike also has accessories that can easily be attached to the body, like this bicycle bag. The bag’s main material is water-resistant and the bottom is water-repellent, so Kumar can store his lunch and other belongings conveniently in here while riding.

Biking in Singapore gets better and easier every year.

"Biking in Singapore gets better and easier every year. The Singapore government invests a lot in making roads more bike friendly. Biking often is faster than taking the bus, especially at odd hours. I also save more than S$100 per month by not buying a travel pass.”

Co-worker stories - Marcus

Meet Marcus, a Sustainability Manager at the IKEA Tampines in Singapore. He Lives with his 68-year-old mother at a two-bedroom flat in Serangoon. Marcus’s interest in protecting the environment dates back to his science lessons in primary school. Now that he is taking charge of the household’s utility fee, his interest in finding little ways to save has grown.

Meet Marcus, a Sustainability Manager at the IKEA Tampines in Singapore.

“As you grow older, roles in the household change. Now I take on most of the chores and the utility bills. Since then, I have changed my lifestyle more and more to find little ways to save.”

Marcus installed IKEA water-saving taps in his home.

Marcus installed IKEA water-saving taps in his home and uses GRUNDVATTNET rinsing tub in the sink. “Now water no longer washes needlessly down the drain.”

Marcus has a pull-out system tucked under the sink: one bin is for disposable waste, and the other is for all bottles, cardboard, cans that can be recycled.

“I have a pull-out system tucked under the sink: one bin is for disposable waste, and the other is for all bottles, cardboard, cans that can be recycled.” In Singapore, all recyclables are collected in a single bin and sorted out later - so there is no need to separate paper from plastic.

Marcus has found new ways to save energy, too. He installed LED lights, stocked up on IKEA recyclable batteries, changed out an old TV and a dishwasher for more energy-efficient versions.

Marcus has found new ways to save energy, too. He installed LED lights, stocked up on IKEA recyclable batteries, changed out an old TV and a dishwasher for more energy-efficient versions. For the first time, he has seen on his utility bills that he is tracking ‘below average’ when compared to his neighbours. “I’m really happy to see that the little steps add up to a real change.”

Installing solar panels on an IKEA store
Creating positive change
Learn how we’re sourcing materials in a responsible way and becoming energy independent.
Go to Energy & Resources
Putting people first
We’re helping to create a better everyday life for people around the world.
Learn about People & Communities
Empowering girls and women helps create holistic solutions to poverty and child labour