What better way to prepare for Chinese New Year other than to know that you are saving the planet at the same time?
Here are 8 ways to huat your way into the New Year – the green way:
1) Use slot-in red packets
Red packets are the most important part of the Chinese New Year experience. Am I right, my fellow unwed friends? But it has been reported that more than 16,000 trees are used yearly to make red packets in Hong Kong alone – only to be thrown away seconds after the “goods” have been taken out.
Unfortunately, red packets made from recycled or FSC-certified paper is not commonly available in Singapore.
A simple way to ensure that you are still a festive eco-hero is to choose slot-in instead of glue-on red packets. By choosing to use only slot-ins, you are allowing the receiver to reuse the red packets and this in-turn reduces the total amount of paper produced for red packets!
2) Low carbon footprint visiting
House visits are an essential part of the Chinese New Year, and strategic transport planning is definitely needed amidst the hustle and bustle of the festivities.
The solution to fast transportation? Car rides. But do you know that a typical passenger vehicle produces the same annual energy use of 422,542 homes?
A great way to move around quickly is to maximise your carpool! If you are thinking of getting taxis to make your rounds, choose to book a Maxicab instead of two standard taxis. You can not only reduce the carbon footprint but also save lots of money from your separate booking fees.
Or better yet, take the public transport! Plan your route using Google Maps and add your destinations to your calendar. That way you can maximise the number of houses to visit and save us from additional carbon footprint.
3) Use glass jars for goodies
Just thinking about pineapple tarts and love letters makes my mouth water. But as we all know, these highly addictive treats are usually sold in plastic containers. So if you are baking this Chinese New Year, drop the plastic and keep your treats in mason jars instead!
What I do is that I let my goodies out to cool after baking, and then place them neatly in my mason jar. These jars are not only environmentally friendly; they also keep your goodies fresh for as long as possible.
4) Donate the clothes you have outgrown
Chinese New Year also calls for some spring cleaning. More often than not, we tend to discard clothes that we have either outgrown or do not like anymore. What to do with them then? Donate it!
Here is a list of organisations consolidated by Honeykids that tells you where you can drop off your clothes.
Donation is a great idea but just make sure your clothes are not torn and tattered, because after all, you are giving your clothes to someone, not your trash.
An alternative is to trade-in your clothes. For instance, Levi’s is holding a campaign to trade-in your old jeans in exchange for a S$50 voucher. The old jeans will then be collected and donated to their charity partners.
5) Eat sustainably
Chinese New Year basically screams “Food!” and “MORE FOOD!”. Especially seafood since the Chinese word for “fish” (鱼 Yú /yoo/) sounds like ‘surplus’ – which is always good as it is a sign that they can make more next year.
But do you know if what you are eating is sustainable? #KnowYourSeafood and check the type of seafood you are getting before you buy it by downloading WWF-Singapore’s Seafood Guide.
Alternatively, you can also watch the YouTube cookery series presented by WWF-Singapore and learn the types of seafood you can replace with to have a more sustainable Chinese New Year!
6) Support green F&B products
Another great way to make sure that you are consuming sustainably is to support F&B brands that care about the environment as much as you do.
We have published a list of companies that choose to use sustainable palm oil in their products. Find out which products are environmentally friendly before you do your grocery shopping!
7) Share the joy of feasting with rangers
A great way to kick-start the new year is to share your Chinese New Year meal with a ranger who is working hard to protect our environment!
Check out how you can sponsor a nutritious meal for our hardworking rangers here.
8) Reduce your food waste
Singapore generated a shockingly amount of about 790,000 tonnes of food waste in 2014, and only 13% of it was recycled! Let’s not be part of this statistic, and only cook what you can consume.
While you do your grocery shopping, do not forget to only get what you need so as to not let any food go to waste!
Now go gobble down those goodies, grab all the red packets and have the most prosperous Chinese New Year! HUAT AH!