Chinese New Year is early this year, and it feels like it’s celebration after celebration following Christmas and New Year that just passed! As we wish for abundance for the new year, don’t forget to scale back on our waste and practise conscious consumption! Below are some tips we could heed this festive occasion:
Reuse and upcycle home decorations
I hope you kept last year’s decorations, because it’s time they come out of the storeroom and see the light again! Chinese New Year decorations are timeless. Red lanterns, door couplets, kamquat trees, pussy willows… There’s no need to replace them every year, for each year without fail, they serve their purpose – to create a festive and happy atmosphere.
For the crafty, why not take the chance to exercise your creative muscles? There are many DIY project tutorials out there that teach you how to upcycle old ang baos into beautiful ornaments to elevate your home a little more. You can start with something simple like this paper goldfish, or create something more advanced like this kusudama red packet lantern. In the upcoming year of the rat, how about challenging yourself to make this cutie?
Swap out single use plastics
Over the 15 days of Chinese New Year, there will be many visitings done, and with that, a lot of eating and drinking. While you enjoy the merriment, take time to reconsider some choices that you make. Instead of the single use plastic cup, could you instead request for a glass to fill your drinks with? (Please remember to be a polite guest and wash it before you leave, though!) Could you swap plastic utensils for reusable ones, whether those of your host or those you brought along to the gathering? All action, no matter how small they appear to be, counts!
Keep the dried mandarin orange peels
Chinese New Year is the time to feast on them mandarin oranges. They are symbols of luck and prosperity in the new year. “Kam“, Cantonese for the citrus fruit, is a homophone for “gold”, and you bring a pair of them when you go visiting. Think twice before throwing away the mandarin orange peels into the bin; there are actually many ways you can play around with them!
You could wash and grate them to add some zest into your cooking. The tangy flavour goes well with both sweet and savoury dishes! Dried orange peels present even more possibilities; simply add some orange oil and make them into potpourris, or add them into your tea for more fragrance. This natural addition into your tea also has additional benefits that soothe the throat and heal cough. For the spirit lover, you’ve got your final touch to your Bourbon Old Fashion right here.
Send eAng Bao
I am not yet entirely convinced about this, but perhaps it’s time to subvert tradition and ditch the conventional red packets for e-money! DBS PayLah! has this adorable function where you can literally send an “eAng Bao” as long as you have the registered phone number of the recipient. I know nothing beats having real cash in your hands, but it also feels good to do a part for the environment. If you are receiving red packets however, save them and reuse them next year to decorate your house with!
What are your Chinese New Year sustainable tips?