Normally, I’m not one for making lots of New Year’s Resolutions, as I am not very good at keeping them! But this year, I am working with IKEA on a sustainable living project, called #LiveLAGOM, which is encouraging the Pink family to make some good resolutions, and helping us to keep them.
IKEA, along with environmental charity Hubbub, are trying to help people live a more sustainable life. It’s not about depriving yourself of the nice things in life. It’s about taking care not to waste resources, and not taking what we don’t need.
LAGOM comes from the Swedish phrase ‘lagom är bäst’ (the right amount is best) which means enjoying what you love, while not taking more than you need.
A few months back, I was very excited to find out I had been picked for the Live LAGOM project, and went along to my local store in Milton Keynes, with five or six other people who’d also been chosen. We had a very interesting behind-the-scenes tour of the store, so we could see what IKEA are doing to reduce energy waste – they don’t just want their customers to live LAGOM, they do it too!
IKEA Milton Keynes has 6,000 solar panels, which generate around 20% of their energy, and they aim to be carbon-free by 2020. They harvest 2,500,000 litres of rain water from their ginormous roof every year, which is cleaned, and used to flush the toilets. They chip any waste wood, to fuel their bio-mass boiler, which heats water, turning it into steam, to heat the building. This means they don’t need to use as much gas, and reduces the amount of carbon dioxide they produce.
Our quest to Live LAGOM
We try hard to be as eco-friendly as we can, and have long used reusable bags to minimise our plastic bag use. We use energy saving lightbulbs in most of the lights, and are pretty good at recycling. We have put in some water-saving measures from Anglian Water, and we use an airer or our washing line instead of a tumble dryer. We buy A or above rated appliances, and switch lights off when we aren’t using them. our bedrooms all have thermal blinds, which are supposed to keep it cooler in summer and warmer in winter. Our house is fairly well insulated, but I have recently bought a draft excluder for the front door, which has made a difference already!
But we could still do a lot more!
IKEA are giving us £500 worth of products to help us Live LAGOM, and I’ve been thinking hard about how we can spend it. I’d love to be more energy efficient, to help reduce our carbon footprint, but also to save money. So we will be looking at the lights in our kitchen, as they are energy-gobbling old things that were installed by the people who lived here before. All of IKEA’s lights are LED now, so getting new ones will instantly cut our electricity use (and bills, yay!). I have also noticed that since we have had the girls, our battery consumption has skyrocketed. We do have some rechargeable batteries, but will definitely be getting some more.
I’m also going to look at ways to make our little home office more cosy. Because I work from home quite a lot, and mainly sit at a desk all day, and therefore don’t move about a lot, I get REALLY cold. I am a cold person anyway, so sitting still is a recipe for shivering. I hate turning on the heating for the whole house, just so I can be warmer in that one little room, so aside from layering up the jumpers, I’ll be getting some cosy blankets to huddle under.
I want to use the food we buy more efficiently, to reduce food waste. Some weeks I am pretty good, and plan out our meals. But more often, we end up wasting food because we don’t have the time or energy to cook the meals we have planned. What is worse, we don’t even put the wasted food into compost, or our green bin, purely (I’m ashamed to say) due to laziness. Well that is going to stop. We have a compost heap, and we are going to use it! Even if it’s just the small mountain of teabags we get every day, it will make a difference. I am also going to use my slow cooker more often. Currently it’s buried deep inside our under stairs pantry, which doesn’t encourage me to use it. Ditto the bread maker.
We also want to be more creative with our recycling. We already recycle pretty much everything we can, (luckily Milton Keynes Council make it really easy for us to do this) but Ava and Thea just LOVE junk modelling, and can often be found rooting through the recycling, to find a suitable piece of cardboard, or tin foil to make something with. So I have started pilling up cereal boxes and egg boxes next to the fridge, so they don’t have to search them out. And it looks hideous. It’s a complete jumble of pens, glue sticks, bits of paper and card, finished art work and abandoned projects. It stresses me out every time I see it. So I really want to tackle that.
So a new storage solution for this area is called for, to let us access the cooking equipment more easily, and sort out the junk modelling supplies. At the moment, the girls often take their art materials into the living room, which make me worry about our rugs and furniture, (I really don’t want a repeat of this rug situation) and leaves me alone in the kitchen. So having easier access, and a nicer place to ‘make’ would mean we’d spend more time together.
I’ll be writing more about this project over the next few months, so you’ll be able to see what differences it has made to our lives.