Three Steps To Going Green In Beijing: Family-Friendly Eco Hacks
Before moving to Beijing, I lived in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta. It was there that I encountered my first landfill, which was within a mile of my manicured residential estate. I watched as an endless line of dump trunks unloaded their odious burdens onto an already-mountainous hill of waste, and my jaw dropped as barefooted children crawled out of the surrounding huts to scale and rummage through our garbage in search of valuable items.
to say, it was quite
a life-changing experience.
Shortly after, I joined a few expat women who founded a group called Going Green In Jakarta. We brainstormed ways to live more sustainably and help share our philosophy with others to create a cleaner, greener city. Among some of our accomplishments were working with local environmental groups to initiate recycling programs in our own residential compounds, and drafting and sending out organized requests to our favorite restaurants and grocery stores asking for less plastic packaging. We had a dream, and we acted on that dream.
I started my waste-free journey there, and am continuing my journey here. There have been slips and misses along the way, and I’ve needed to make changes and adjustments to fit life in this city. Nevertheless, in my opinion, it’s certainly a battle worth fighting, and I’m here to share three concrete ways you can start or modify your sustainable life to suit Beijing. And to make it fun and easy to remember, I’ve labelled them the ABCs of Going Green!
Plan in 'A'dvance
Whether it’s meal planning, or knowing when you’re going to eat out, the first step to your green journey is simply being prepared. If you’re constantly in survival mode and scrambling from one appointment to the next, you don’t need to add more to your plate. Once you’ve settled into a more structured routine, you’ll have the mental capacity to start forming new habits like remembering to bring your own…
… reusable 'B'ottle!
It’ll remind you to hydrate too, because your bag gets lighter the more you drink!
Find a pretty one that captures your sparkling personality so you’re more likely to hold on to it. For kids, this stainless steel Camelbak is lightweight and comes in a variety of designs to suit all tastes, from pirates to fairies. Stainless steel ensures no mold or bacteria growth, but that doesn’t apply to the silicon straw parts so make sure you give those a good, thorough cleaning every week!
Reusable 'C'utlery and straws:
This GoEat magnetic set from Joseph Joseph (I got it at April Gourmet) is ideal for those with kids, but also great for any time you encounter a restaurant that only offers chopsticks. What’s more, you’re less likely to lose them since they stick together! That said, I (well, really my son) did forget the spoon at a restaurant but the fork and knife remain extremely useful.
There’s another all-in-one set from local waste-free store The Bulk House that includes organic bamboo cutlery and a bent straw that’s perfect for smaller kids. There’s also an option for thicker straight metal straws that are ideal for sipping smoothies. *Fun Tip: When my kid was teething, he used to love sucking on the metal straw itself!
I know, I know. It sounds like so much work! Having to remember to carry things in your bag, and say “我不要吸管 Wǒ bùyào xīguǎn I don’t want a straw” every time you visit a restaurant or cafe is tiresome. Change is hard, and starting a new habit is especially hard. But as I like to tell my kid, “We can do hard things” (thank you Glennon Doyle!). Focus on the benefits of telling your kids that you’re all on a mission to save the earth: Make a counting challenge out of how many straws you didn’t use because you brought your own, and always remember to be kind to yourself if you slip up, which you will. We all do the best we can, and that is enough.
Want more Sustainable Sunday news and tips for living an eco-conscious life in Beijing? Let us know in the comments what you want to learn about and we’ll do our best to help!
KEEP READING: All My Designer Clothes Are From Xianyu, China’s Leading Secondhand Shopping App
Images: Courtesy of products, The Bulk House, Pexels
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