Lunar New Year is a time where more is more, from the food, drinks, festivities and everything else in between. It is easy to turn a blind eye to food wastage or carbon emissions as this occasion happens once a year and you get caught up with places to go and people to visit. Still, there is no reason for us to forget about how we are affecting the environment this new year amidst all the pomp and celebrations. Here are some easy ways for you to have a more eco-friendly party during this festive period!
1. Repurposing Old Red Packets as DecorationS
Don’t you remember decorating your classrooms with these DIY decorations for the festive season? As adults, it may seem trivial but these are a sure-fire way to spruce up your apartment or event space without having to spend money on decor that you will use once and discard. Need a refresher on some crafts you can make? Check out our DIY Lunar New Year Decor Pinterest board for fresh and creative eco-friendly decor ideas! Here are some of the highlights:
As we are ushering in the year of the Rat, it is only fitting that our decor reflects that! Materialise your own little mice with a few red (or pink) red packets, googly eyes and some string for whiskers and you are all set. Display them on the table beside your festive treats as these 3D decorations can stand on their own.
Photo credits: Pinterest
For something that looks so intricate, it is surprisingly easy to make and looks great hanging from the ceiling. You just need 10 red envelopes, folded and stapled together a few times, attach it to a string and voila! Get creative with different colours to create a gradient or a variety of coloured floral wheels to match your home’s aesthetic. Click here to get the full instructions for this craft.
These are a staple piece in any home and easy enough for the children to attempt as well. A pair of scissors and a stapler are all you need to transform these packets into fishes that you can paste on your walls. Make a variety of sizes to create a whole school of these creatures as well and draw their features with a black marker to finish.
2. Donate Clothes and Items when Spring Cleaning
It is time to Marie Kondo your closet to make way for your New Year shopping! But before you send your clothes down the trash, know this – over 20% of the world’s waste comes from our preloved textiles or waste materials from clothes factories. Instead of contributing to that number, sell your preloved items on platforms like Carousell to make a quick buck or donate them to the needy. H&M has a garment recycling incentive where you can drop off clothes of any brand and condition and be rewarded with a 15% H&M discount voucher. The company uses what you have dropped off to manufacture new clothes, or if not, repurpose them to act as an insulation material or cleaning cloths. Talk about a win-win situation, so now you have no reason to not get decluttering!
3. Carpool Instead of Driving Separate Cars
If your family is one to travel from one end of Singapore to the other for visiting during Lunar New Year, you are definitely not alone. However, vehicle emissions have been a big problem for global warming – every 3.7 litres of fuel burnt is equivalent to 8,887 grams of carbon dioxide – and if you think about the number of cars on the road during this festive season, we don’t need to do the math for you to know that it will be a big contributor to harming our ozone layer (and Singapore is already blazing hot as it is).
If you can, carpool with your relatives if they have bigger cars Book a bigger 6-seater Grabcar instead of two 4-seaters if you have a group of 6 to ferry around. A few minutes of squeezing in a car is nothing compared to the amount of carbon dioxide you are saving from driving. Public transport is another alternative; it is cost-efficient and you will be able to dodge jams on the highway if you zip around in an MRT!
4. Take away Leftovers from Reunion Dinners
Photo credits: Pinterest
Back to back festive periods can only mean one thing – a multitude of food, desserts and snacks. Relatives spare no expense in ensuring that the entire family is fed, to the extent of cooking more portions than we are able to scarf down. Letting these home-cooked dishes go to waste is a shame, especially when they are rare to come around. Hence, be armed with your own eco-friendly takeaway boxes to bring home leftovers that you can reheat for your office lunches. Opt for reusable containers that are microwave-safe so you don’t have to transfer the food around just to heat them up.
5. Recycle Everything!
Decorations, snacks, clothes – check! And here comes the influx of drinks, be it tetra packs or aluminium cans. Prepare a separate bin or bag for recycling when relatives and friends flock your home as these empty drink cans and packets can be easily recycled instead of being tossed away. Encourage your guests to help you wash the cans and packs and explain the rationale behind it to advocate them to do the same for their own festivities. After all, it only takes one person’s action to spark another!
Recycle Drink Containers and Get Vouchers
Photo credits: RecycleNSave
Recycle these empty drink containers at one of the 50 “reverse” vending machines around various shopping malls in Singapore. An initiative by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and F&N, these machines take in empty drink cans and plastic bottles instead of accepting coins and notes, and rather than dispense drinks, it gives out discount vouchers. That’s right – you get a $0.20 Fairprice voucher for every 4 cans/bottles recycled!
Recycle Red Packets
Photo credits: DBS
If you are part of the lucky bunch who can still receive red packets, or realise that you have too many to spare after the festive week, recycle them at your nearest DBS or POSB branch at their ‘Ang Bao Recycling Bins’, an initiative that was introduced last year and is coming back on 28 January this year. You’ll be able your deposits there all year round for any remaining packets that you find lying around.
How are you keeping your celebrations eco-friendly this Lunar New Year? Let us know in the comments! Meanwhile, check out Delegate to discover vendors you love now.
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