11 Jan 2013

Singapore to recycle $2 notes for Chinese New Year

7:41 am on 11 January 2013

Singapore is to recycle S$2 bills for red packets of money as well as printing new ones for the Chinese New Year.

Giving packets of crisp new notes (lai see) during the Lunar New Year, which falls on 10 February 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.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore said it will issue older notes that look as good as new and encourage the public to use them.

"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," MAS said.

Singapore needs around 50 million S$2 notes in circulation.

MAS said that printing excess notes just for the Lunar New Year consumes 10 tonnes of ink and uses enough electricity to power an entire apartment block for six months.

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.