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Singapore

Choose fit-for-gifting notes or digital red packets for Chinese New Year, says MAS

To encourage the use of fit-for-gifting notes, the Monetary Authority of Singapore will stop issuing good-as-new S$2 notes this coming Chinese New Year.

Choose fit-for-gifting notes or digital red packets for Chinese New Year, says MAS

File photo of Singapore S$2 bank notes. (Photo: iStock/Maksym Kapliuk)

SINGAPORE: Instead of giving new bank notes for Chinese New Year, consider fit-for-gifting notes or digital red packets as a greener alternative.

That is the message from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) as part of efforts to promote environmental sustainability. 

"Fit notes are used currency notes that are generally clean and of suitable quality for recirculation, including for festive gifting," said MAS. 

"The condition of these notes has been verified by banknote processing machines and are similar in quality to notes from automated teller machines (ATMs)."

To encourage the use of fit notes, MAS will stop issuing good-as-new S$2 notes this coming Chinese New Year.

Fit notes are a more sustainable option, said MAS, as good-as-new S$2 notes generate additional carbon emissions given the additional processing needed.

Explaining the difference between the notes, the authority said good-as-new notes are retrieved from notes issued only once during Chinese New Year and deposited back to MAS shortly thereafter by the banks.

"These notes are processed twice by MAS to ensure that only good quality good-as-new notes are harvested and reissued for the next Chinese New Year," said MAS, adding that good-as-new notes only come in S$2 denomination.

About 100 million new notes are issued every year for Chinese New Year and other festive periods, MAS noted, adding that a large majority of these notes are only used once for gifting before being returned to the authority. 

"While most of the returned notes are recirculated to meet public demand, such as to replace unfit notes in circulation, the volume of such notes far exceeds replacement needs. The excess notes are subsequently destroyed before the end of their useful life," said MAS.

New notes issued purely to meet the demand for festive purposes generate unnecessary carbon emissions and are a waste of resources, said MAS.

It added that the carbon emissions from the issuance of excess new notes annually are comparable to powering 430 four-room HDB flats, and that it would require 10,000 new trees to be planted to offset the emissions.

The practice of printing new notes "is not in line with environmental sustainability" or Singapore's target of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, MAS said.

Those who prefer to give physical red packets for Chinese New Year can choose to use fit-for-gifting notes instead of new notes.

MAS said it will work closely with the banks to make fit notes more accessible to the public, adding that it will provide more details on the reservation and exchange of new and fit notes towards the end of the year.

Source: CNA/nh(sn)

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