Chinese New Year is red, Pantone colour (of the year) is blue, ‘Going Green’ is cool, and here are 8 ways for you. We may have made that poem up but climate change is real! Be eco-conscious and play your part today.
1. AngPao & Decorations
Photo credit: pegasuskl.wordpress.com
Small things do matter. You can start by reusing the past year’s AngPaos and relevant paper decorations for this year. You can also opt for new decorations without the Chinese zodiac or year motifs so you can reuse it for the subsequent years. Similarly, you can also DIY your festive decorations with old angbaos like this! Another way to eliminate the need for AngPaos is to utilise your local bank-transfer applications like PayLah! for a paperless CNY.
2. Reusable Crockery & Cutlery
Disposables like plastic cups, cutlery and paper plates may save us a lot of time and effort for the clean-up, but it is extremely detrimental to the environment. Play your part by using reusable crockery and cutlery, or bring along reusable bottles like Thermos® Tumblers to store your liquids when travelling to different houses.
If using disposables are inevitable, write names on it with markers so everyone will only have one designated cup and utensil set. Also, be sure to set out different trash bags (general waste, liquids, plastic and paper) so your relatives and guests can chuck away their rubbish accordingly. You can then rinse them accordingly and dispose the recyclables at your nearby collection centres.
3. Snack Containers
Reuse before recycle. When heading out to buy CNY snacks, bring reusable containers to store food products in. Most of the stores will allow you to do so - especially heartland stores (we recommend supporting the local businesses for the authentic CNY grocery shopping). You can also reuse snack containers after the festive season to store dry ingredients, condiments, spices, tea bags, and more.
4. Spring Cleaning
Spring cleaning is part of everyone’s yearly pre-CNY tradition. To go green, plan and compact your schedule to just one day to reduce water and electricity usage. You can start with clearing out all the unnecessary items and separating them into donatable, reusable or trash items.
Things like outgrown clothes or electronics can be donated to different organisations - or better, upcycled into tote bags for CNY. Here’s how you can do it with different pieces of clothing! Additionally, you can also cut out old clothes into wipes as a substitute for using paper towels.
5. Fashion Choices
Photo Credit: The Thrifty Kiwi
Go green in style through these two ways. First, you can opt to shop for your CNY looks from your local sustainable fashion brands like Esse (fibres made from bamboo and wood pulp), Source Collections (made from renewable fabric) and more. Also, prolong your clothing’s life by picking styles that you’ll wear even after the festive season or choose to rent outfits from Style Theory.
The second way is to learn easy embroidery techniques and to repurpose your current wardrobe with cute details of adorable motifs. This way, you can limit your subscription to mass fashion and be more sustainable as an individual.
6. Sustainable Seafood
Photo credit: Marine Stewardship Council
Seafood is almost mandatory during Chinese New Year, but did you also know that Singapore consumes 120 thousand tonnes of seafood every year and that only 13 out of 4 popular seafood species that we consume isare not sustainable? Well, according to WWF, we are.
Start the first lunar new year of this decade right by understanding how our food choices can cause environmental damage. Check out this guide provided by WWF when it comes to choosing your seafood ingredients and sustainable seafood recipes for your CNY feast. Here’s where you can get them too!
7. Healthier Feast
Not just for sustainable purposes, incorporating more vegetarian options while reducing meat intake for this year is also healthier for your diet. There are many delicious vegetarian recipes like Chap Chye (braised mixed vegetables), vegetarian curry tofu and more that you can feast on.
Besides the substitution with more vegetarian dishes, we should also be aware of the food wastages that come with celebration dinners. Strive to cook adequate portions or opt to reheat leftover dishes and #Tabao with Thermos® Food Jars to keep it warm for some hours for your supper!
8. Travel Together
Exhaust gas emitted from vehicles is harmful to both humans and nature. Take steps to reduce one’s fuel carbon footprint like planning your route when it comes to visiting different houses. You should also travel together as a family when utilising taxis or private hires for style points (arriving at different houses with all your family members together) while being environmentally-conscious - or just opt for public transport!
Find out more here for the 10 things you can do to get close to zero waste.