China has quickly become a world leader in going green. For example, China is aiming to increase their forest coverage to 23 percent of the country and spend $360 billion on renewable energy by 2020. From solar panel farms to putting restrictions on carbon emissions for large companies, China is paving the path for other countries to change their infrastructure. China is also a great place to change your daily habits as there are a lot of ways to “go green” while there. Check out our top six suggestions on how to incorporate these initiatives in your daily life while studying abroad in China.
1. Ofo bikes
Allowing you to come and go as you please, Ofo is a bike-sharing app that has become very popular in Shanghai. The app uses a QR scanner to unlock the bike of your choice and charges a minimal fee of about 1¥ per ride! The app also tracks your carbon reduction by kilogram while you ride – a great way to track and offset some of your carbon emissions from your flight over.
It’s easy to find recycling bins in the TEAN off-campus apartment complex. Easily labeled with what type of recycling belongs in each, bins are located in the outdoor communal space. The bin blue is recycling, the red indicates “harmful” garbage (such as batteries, electrical items, expired medicines and cosmetics), brown is food waste and black is normal garbage.
3. Take the high speed rail
China is covered in high speed train lines that can get you from Shanghai to anywhere across the country. A popular destination is Beijing, but you can also check out Hangzhou, Kunming and Guangzhou. By taking the high speed rail trains you’re majorly reducing your CO2 emissions by as much as 90% compared to taking a plane.
4. Eating locally / Farmers market
A year-round farmers market is located an easy 10-minute walk from the TEAN off-campus apartments down Guoding Street,. Here you can find fresh vegetables, meat, eggs, seafood, fruits and more to cook at your apartment. Instead of shopping at the major chain grocery stores, you can support suburban Shanghai farmers while also saving money!
5. Public transport
TEAN will help you get started with this one! At the start of your semester you are provided with a transit card to use on the Shanghai metro. Shanghai’s public transit boasts an extensive system that can get you all around downtown, to both airports and even to Disneyland! Fares are commonly very inexpensive and normally only will cost about $1 per ride. Using public transport reduces your carbon footprint much more than using a taxi to get everywhere.
6. Drying racks
One of the biggest cultural differences students find when they travel to China is the lack of clothes dryers. Much more common are drying racks, which save a lot of energy as opposed to using a clothes dryer. An added bonus is that drying racks are actually better for clothes as air drying is less damaging to the fabric.
These are just some of the ways you can live a more green lifestyle while studying abroad in China. Remembers, when it comes to living sustainably, little changes – like air-drying your clothes rather than machine-drying them – can make a big difference!