Eco-Living Made Easy in Shanghai

Tips for green living and having a sustainable lifestyle.

by SHFamily | Wed, May 31, 2017

Follow a sustainable lifestyle and make a huge impact on your urban footprint with these easy and effective tips for green living.

Walk, pedal or carpool

Beat the traffic jams by walking or riding a bike. Take the stairs to your office or apartment, instead of the elevator, to save energy and stay fit. Invest in a scooter or folding bike, take public transportation or carpool. Human-power is the purest of green transport technologies.

Conscious waste disposal

Most of the trash we produce can be recycled and some of it may contain mercury, lead or other toxins. In addition to recycling plastics, aluminum, paper and glass, properly recycle items such as batteries, old electronics, light bulbs and even used clothes and textiles.

Know your food

Join a community roof top garden like Skyfarms to know where your food is coming from and to participate in a local, organic food system. Or shop at one of the local farmer’s markets, which allows you to talk with your farmer about their growing process. Farmer’s markets reduce packaging waste, transportation (product) loads and cost. There are many options for eco-friendly shopping if you look in the right places.

Compost kitchen scraps

Compost kitchen scraps to reduce nearly a quarter of landfill waste. Keep a covered bin in your kitchen to collect produce and other food scraps. Look for the brown bins in your local neighborhood supplied by the Shanghai government. Ferment kitchen scraps with brown sugar and water to make a “garbage enzyme,” a non-toxic, all-natural cleaner with an endless list of uses, including household cleaner, stain remover, deodorizer, and bug repellant. To learn more, see what David Suzuki's Queen of Green has to say about the do's and don'ts of composting.

BYOC - Bring your own container

The number of single-use containers we throw out every day is astounding, from plastic water bottles to aluminum cans and Starbucks cups to Styrofoam lunch boxes. Invest in a reusable stainless steel or glass container, and bring it whenever possible.

Borrow over buy

Instead of buying every piece of equipment, tool or ingredient you may need, build a rapport with neighbors and friends. Lend, swap, share and borrow items instead. This builds a stronger sense of community, lowers expenses and shares a model of sustainable living.

Buy foods packaged in large glass containers

When buying packaged foods, look for a large-volume glass option, such as at Metro. Larger packaging means less overall packaging used, and glass containers are very easy to repurpose or upcycle.

Take a stay-cation

For your next trip or holiday, explore the beauty and culture of the local area and book a stay at a local eco-lodging destination. Stay-cations lower transportation emissions and finances without sacrificing the therapeutic benefits of a true escape.

A few related essentials:

Home & Lifestyle

Eco & More

100% plant-based, chemical free home care and personal care products. Available at City Shop, Ole grocery stores, and Sprout Lifestyle.

PureLiving China

Provides home environmental consultancy services. Bldg C, 3/F, Jiachun, 753 Yuyuan Lu; 6236 5867, 6236 5869;


River of Hearts

Accepts clothing, bedding, shoes, and toys to be donated to Chinese communities in need.