Singapore, 6 December 2022… The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) strongly encourages members of the public to go green this coming Lunar New Year (LNY) by using “Fit-for-Gifting” currency notes (Fit notes) or e-hong baos, instead of new notes.
2. Fit notes are used currency notes that are generally clean and of suitable quality for recirculation, including for festive gifting. The condition of these notes has been verified by banknote processing machines and are similar in quality to notes from automated teller machines (ATMs).
3. MAS issues approximately 100 million pieces of new notes annually for LNY and other festive periods. A large majority of new notes are used only once for gifting, and are returned to MAS shortly after each LNY. 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.
4. New notes issued just to meet the demand for festive gifting generate unnecessary carbon emissions and is a waste of resources. The carbon emissions from the issuance of excess new notes annually are comparable to powering 430 four-room HDB flats. It would require 10,000 new trees to be planted to offset the emissions. The practice of printing new notes for festive gifting and subsequently destroying most of them is not in line with environmental sustainability and Singapore’s aspiration to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 as part of the global effort to mitigate climate change.
5. To reduce the carbon emissions from new notes, MAS and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) advocate the use of Fit notes and e-hong baos. Members of the public who prefer to give physical hong baos for LNY can play their part in protecting the environment by choosing to use Fit notes instead of new notes. MAS will also be working closely with the banks to make Fit notes more accessible to the public. The banks have also enhanced their e-hong bao offerings over the years. These have been well-received as a convenient and personalised way to send blessings to family and friends during festive periods.
6. In conjunction with the initiative to encourage the use of Fit notes, MAS will cease the issuance of Good-as-New (GAN) $2 notes starting from this LNY. Fit notes are a more sustainable option, as GAN $2 notes generate additional carbon emissions given the additional processing needed.
7. Ms Cindy Mok, Assistant Managing Director (Finance, Risk & Currency), MAS, said, “Starting from this Lunar New Year, let’s use Fit-for-Gifting notes or e-hong baos instead of new notes. In this way, we can convey blessings to our loved ones, while doing our part for a greener and more sustainable future for the next generation.”
8. Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, Director, ABS, said, “ABS will continue to support more sustainable alternatives for festive gifting which will make a meaningful difference to the environment. Our member banks will encourage customers to use Fit-for-Gifting notes, as well as e-hong baos.”
9. More details on the reservation and exchange of new and Fit notes will be provided towards the end of the year.