Go Green With Your Hongbaos This Chinese New Year
Today is the start of the annual rush for new notes to stuff into Chinese New Year red packets.
Part of the Chinese festive tradition is to hand out crisp, brand-new notes in hongbaos (translated as red packets). But this year, in an effort to support environmental awareness, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) is issuing what they call “good as new” $2 bills. An effort that translates directly to energy and resource savings.
Every year, the central bank issues $200 million in new $2 bills. But only half of that is needed for normal circulation. The other half is collected back by the banks when customers deposit their newly-collected red packets. To print this half of currency notes that are not utilized for normal circulation, takes up enough electricity to power one Housing Board block for at least 6 months! Read MAS introduces “good as new” $2 notes out for Chinese New Year.
The question is – why do people still insist getting a new stack of freshly printed notes for their hongbaos?
According to some Fengshui experts, it is thought to be more auspicious to put new notes in hongbaos. To others, new notes signify a good start to the new year.
Personally, it has never bothered me if I got an old, crumbled and dog-eared note. What matters most is how much that note is! I think the idea of giving crisp notes as a superstitious practice with symbolic meaning is more significant for the giver than the receiver.
As long as the value of the note remains the same, try going green this year with your hongbaos. It is not much to ask, yet it makes a huge impact on saving the planet.