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Sustainable Space

Bringing the outside in

Tips on building a better balance with nature from Country Sustainability Manager at IKEA Retail Denmark, Monica Keaney

Better off with less 

“The backbone to a lot of our sustainability and circularity projects is trying to dismantle this notion that the more things we have, the better off we are,” Monica explains. When we declutter (as many of us did during lockdown), we see how much waste is created by buying what we don’t need. “We’ve reached a tipping point – we must make our belongings last longer, give them new purpose, refurbish and repair them, and pass them on in a responsible way.”

Start small 

To avoid accumulating unnecessary possessions, Monica recommends small DIY projects to experiment with creative upcycling. “There’s no need to bite off more than you can chew,” she laughs. “Rethink your home step by step and start with one project that feels achievable and manageable.”

Keep the love alive

“Our views towards public and private space have shifted,” says Monica. You might have walked alone in a park to clear your head, met family outside, or even gone on an al fresco date. In lockdown, nature has been key in keeping our relationships alive, and its role in our everyday life has changed. “The pandemic has made us realise we’re all united in so many things, with our need to spend time in nature one of the most important.

1 in 4 people globally say accessing green space is important for helping them maintain their mental wellbeing at home

A tiny piece of green 

Not everyone lives near a park or a forest. But the IKEA Life at Home Report 2021 shows having a tiny bit of nature in the home – 1 in 4 people globally say accessing green space is important for helping them maintain their mental wellbeing at home- 28% of people say spaciousness has grown most in importance over the last 12 months became crucial, with 53% of people in the UK saying access to a private garden or balcony has grown in importance. “Reconnect- ing with nature doesn’t have to be complicated,” Monica assures us. “Use balconies or windowsills to grow flowers and herbs, which will ease the mind and contribute to mental wellbeing.”

Go wild 

To encourage people to engage with nature, IKEA in Denmark in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, invited them to rewild as much space as they could, and become a part of a bigger biodiversity platform. “I have a miniscule backyard in Copenhagen,” Monica says. “And I decided to rewild two square metres.” Her two are now part of 3 million square metres Monica’s fellow Danes have contributed.

28% of people say spaciousness has grown most in importance over the last 12 months

Interviewed by Joseph Hutchinson, Written by Deimante Bulbenkaite

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