Green initiative makes "hong bao" tradition less wasteful.
In a release, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) announced that it will issue “good-as-new” $2 notes, along with brand new ones, for the coming Lunar New Year. The “good-as-new” $2 notes are clean and crisp notes which are retrieved immediately after the Lunar New Year.
MAS prints and issues 100 million $2 polymer notes to the banks each Lunar New Year, in response to the tradition of giving brand new notes as “hong bao”. However, only about half of the new $2 notes issued are required to meet normal circulation demand.
"The accumulation of excess $2 polymer notes and their destruction before the end of their lifespan is a waste of precious resources and is not environmentally friendly," said MAS, estimating that printing the excess 50 million $2 notes uses more than 200,000 kWh of electricity, equivalent
to powering up one HDB block for six months, and consumes 10 tonnes of ink.
MAS is therefore embarking on an initiative this Lunar New Year to encourage the public to use “good-as-new” $2 notes for “hong bao”.
Mrs Foo-Yap Siew Hong, Assistant Managing Director, MAS, said, “While MAS will continue issuing brand new $2 notes, we hope the public will participate in the initiative. We can celebrate Lunar New Year with the giving of ‘hong bao’ and do our bit in reducing wastage and preserving the environment. So let’s go green this Lunar New Year, and celebrate with good-as-new $2 notes.
MAS said it has obtained the backing of the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), Environmental Challenge Organisation (Singapore) [ECO Singapore] and Singapore Chinese Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCCI).
“ABS supports this initiative. Our member banks will promote the use of the ‘goodas-new’ notes at their branches, ATMs and websites. They will also deploy more service staff to promote these notes at the branches and encourage their own staff to use ‘good-as-new’ $2 notes”, said Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, ABS Director.
Mr Wilson Ang, President of ECO Singapore, said, “We hope everyone who celebrates Lunar New Year in Singapore will lend their support to this national effort on environmental sustainability and resource conservation. Our collective change of habit this Lunar New Year, moving away from using new notes for ‘hong bao’, will help reduce our impact on the environment and benefit our future generations.”
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