What It’s Like to Try Living Green in China

(Bloomberg) -- For the past six years, Yu Yuan has been doing everything she can to live a life that produces no non-degradable waste. She takes her own coffee mug and chopsticks to cafes and restaurants, she buys second-hand clothes and she never orders food deliveries. During the day, she runs a shop in an old Beijing alley that sells housewares. None are single-use plastic and customers don’t get a bag.

“It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, because every Chinese person used to have a low-carbon lifestyle when the country was less developed,” said Yu, 30. “I will find ways to make it happen.”

China set a goal two years ago to reach peak emissions before 2030 and zero them out by 2060, and one of the 10 key missions of the government’s official roadmap to meet those targets is a “green lifestyle for all people.” Designed to raise people’s awareness of their personal carbon footprints, it encourages the promotion of low-emission products, better labeling and more climate education. In practice, though, it’s not easy for Chinese consumers to make informed choices about what they buy, because the country lags behind places like Europe in requiring and policing product information.