CLEAN and green Singapore is going even greener this Chinese New Year, recycling S$2 bills for red packets of money alongside the printing of new ones.

Giving out the little packets, or “lai see”, with crisp new notes during the Lunar New Year, which falls on February 10 this year, is a long-standing tradition. Adults typically give them to children, older relatives and unmarried siblings to wish them good luck for the coming year.

As well as printing millions of brand new S$2 notes as it has done in the past, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), the central bank of the wealthy southeast Asian city-state, said it would issue older notes that looked as good as new and it would encourage the public to use them.

The MAS said: “The accumulation of excess S$2 polymer notes and their destruction before the end of their lifespan is a waste of precious resources and is not environmentally friendly.”

Singapore only needed around 50 million S$2 notes in circulation, the authority said. Printing the excess notes just for the Lunar New Year consumed 10 tons of ink and used enough electricity to power an entire apartment block for six months, it added.

Most of the notes find their way back into the banks soon after the New Year festivities anyway, as people put them in their savings. – Reuters