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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

China’s Low-impact Choices

By: Libby Carnahan, Sea Grant Agent

Low-impact actions are apparent at the individual and community level.

At the neighborhood markets, all items are sold in bulk (there are sporadic Western stores where you can get your fill of pre-packaged items). Shoppers select the
amount of fish, chicken, eggs, meat, vegetables, fruit, rice, and even pet food that are then wrapped up in a small bag. Reusable shopping bags are the norm due to government-imposed fees per plastic bag ranging from $0.03 to $0.30 (US). Re-use was also seen in the daily ritual of tea-drinking from reusable glass jars.

Many Chinese recycle, though the practice is dictated more by economic reasons (rebate programs) than environmental ones.

Clothes are hung to air-dry on balconies and, in Beijing, I passed many small storefronts on the Hutongs (traditional alleyways) where undergarments hung to dry
for the entire world to see! In public restrooms, hand dryers are the norm over paper towels. On a hike on the Great Wall, I was happy to see a local tour guide employing the “pack it in, pack it out” policy with the groups’ trash slung on a stick over his shoulder.

And it doesn’t stop there check out China’s energy choices tomorrow.


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