Plogging is the latest eco-conscious fitness trend to hit Beijing. The Swedish-born exercise craze is a combination of ‘plucking’ and ‘jogging’ and involves burning calories while keeping the environment trash-free. Small groups of ploggers are meeting regularly around the city, donning gloves or long tongs and equipped with small bags, collecting the trash they see along the way – get ready for a lot of extra squats in your daily workout! Plog on your own, with friends, or join up with a larger group who leave from The BulkHouse every Thursday 7pm-8pm.
Goodbye Plastic Bags
The days of single-use plastic bags are well and truly numbered in a lot of Western countries now, and we are hoping that this trend will spread to Beijing, where millions of bags are used every day. But for many people, making the move to reusable bags poses some problems, so here are some solutions:
‘How do I pack my produce to stop it rolling around my shopping basket?’
Keep these 100 percent organic cotton produce bags in the reusable bag you take shopping and put your produce directly in them. Shopkeepers are more than happy to weigh your fruit and vegetables in them. They can also be used for breads, bulk grains, nuts, flours, and dried fruits from the markets. String bags (RMB 48), mesh bags (RMB 20), muslin bags (RMB 30), and bento bags (RMB 70-90) can be found at The BulkHouse.
‘What will I put my trash in?’
A couple of solutions are here for you: try biodegradable trash bags made from bioplastics; or, you can separate your food waste and put it in the compost, and then your garbage bin doesn’t need a bin liner at all. Alternatively, line the base of your bin with scrap paper, and then tip your bin out into your shared rubbish collection bin. E-Clean biodegradable bin liners (RMB 20).
These two delightful, radiant women (Astra Holmes and Jess Meider) are long-term expats in Beijing, arriving two decades ago. After feeling the effects of Beijing’s uber-dry climate and polluted environment on their skin, they set out to create a local, eco-conscious solution for skincare products that would be safe for the skin as well as the environment. The Green Room was launched in 2016 after extensive testing, with a range of simple natural serums which are 100% organic, vegan-friendly, and concern free. They are tested only on humans, safe for all ages, and safe to use during pregnancy.
What inspired you to create this range of natural skincare?
Holmes: The reason I started The Green Room was that the face that I was seeing in the mirror every day was aging faster than I would have liked. The products I was using just weren’t working well enough for my skin to cope with the harsh Beijing environment. Oils were becoming popular in the West, but some of the most popular were filled with mineral oils and some other nasties. Collectively across the world, we are all becoming more and more aware of the negative effects of our overuse of chemicals, especially things in and on our body, so I began the journey down the rabbit hole of natural skincare research.
What is your brand’s philosophy?
Nature holds the key to the most effective and safest skincare. By using organic botanical oils, we know that every ingredient is beneficial for your skin and there’s no danger, unknown chemicals that can cause long-term damage.
How do you ensure your product is ‘green’?
We source our organic oils from reputable sources, we hand blend small batches each week, and we also have a bottle return system to help minimize waste. We don’t use any additives or harmful ingredients so you can trust it’s good for your health. “True beauty is the shine that emanates from the eyes because the heart is well cared for. Smoothing these natural oils into the skin is the step in your day where you really can focus for a few breaths, relax, and enjoy what you are doing for yourself – promoting healthy skin and self-love.” Jess Meider
Why You Should Eat More Veggies
The number of vegetarians and vegans are on the increase across the world, as more people become aware of the environmental impact that their diet has on their health and the planet. Studies show that choosing plant-based diets boosts human lifespans and quality of life, and as a result drastically cuts your carbon footprint, preserves water use, and ensures crop resources are fed to people, rather than livestock. Start by adopting ‘Meatless Monday’, increase your number of meatless meals and start choosing vegetarian options when eating out. Your body and the planet will thank you for it!
Green Your Home
Each month we’ll be giving you some tips on how you can make your home a greener place… We buy household cleaners, we expect them to do one thing: clean! Unfortunately, most of the chemicals in household cleaners contribute to indoor air pollution, waterway pollution, are poisonous if ingested, “hormone disrupters,” and harmful if inhaled or touched, not to mention the impact on long-term health. You can provide a more natural and safe environment for your kids, while keeping your house clean, by using some simple homemade cleaners, just like your grandmother did!
Homemade Natural Cleaning Solution
In a spray bottle, combine 1 part white vinegar, 4 parts water, 1 teaspoon of organic liquid dish soap and 10-20 drops of essential oil (optional). Spray and wipe!
Homemade Natural Disinfectant
Use a 50-50 vinegar-water mix to wipe down phones, doorknobs, tab handles and surfaces when cold and flu season hits.
Homemade Natural Glass Cleaner
Mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil.
Check out what’s happening locally in Beijing’s green scene
Green Drinks Beijing, Oct 9
Adults. A casual networking event for anyone interested in China’s sustainable development. 7.30pm. The Bookworm. (www.greendrinks.org)
How to Live A Zero Waste Lifestyle, Oct 17
All ages. Carrie and Joe from The Bulk House will show you the importance of a zero waste lifestyle with plenty of ‘how to’. Pre-registration required. 7-9.30pm. German Chamber of Commerce. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Live With Less, Oct 27
All ages. Declutter your home and then get along to this regular swap event. Drop off your extra stuff, pick up some new treasures and make new friends! 11am-5pm. National Art Museum of China. WeChat ID: Crossboundaries
This post appeared in the beijingkids October 2018 Mental Health issue.
Photo: Adobe Creative Cloud