It’s possible to have an eco friendly Chinese New Year. With a bit of planning and foresight, you can usher in new beginnings, show consideration for the environment and honour tradition.
Decoration and bio cleaning
People spend a lot of time giving their homes a good clean-up in preparation for family visits. At the end of the year, there’s also the desire to sweep out the old and usher in the new to bring good fortune to your home. In your eco friendly Chinese New Year efforts, you can think about using bio products. Instead of going for cleaning products filled with harmful chemicals, why not using safer cleaning products? To descale, use vinegar or fresh lemon juice. And to give your home a lasting freshness, use baking soda or a few drops of lavender essential oil.
And that philosophy doesn’t need to be limited to cleaning – you can also use it for decorating. There’s no need to purchase new when you can make ornaments with what you already have. Use red recyclable paper or fabrics to make covers for lamps, and create lanterns using red paint, cardboard and electric tealights. You can also use generic Ang Pao envelopes without adhesive so that they can be reused, or even send money electronically.
Do something meaningful
The new year celebrates beginnings. It’s also a time for you to establish your inner peace by doing something meaningful. To have an eco friendly Chinese New Year, consider volunteering or donating to share the spirit of giving and improve your fortunes. As animals are representative of the Chinese zodiac, you could focus on volunteering efforts that promote animal safety. Consider giving your time to ACRES (Animal Concerns Research and Education Society), whose educational programmes highlight the impact of wildlife poaching and trade, or to the Live Turtle & Tortoise Museum.
Donating clothing and other items is another to have an eco friendly Chinese New Year. You’ll often find unused items during your festive decluttering, and many people rely on the affordable items found in charity shops. Take your clothing, utensils, accessories and books to New2U thrift shop, whose charity, Star Shelter, supports victims of domestic violence. And thanks to Uplift Project Singapore, you can even donate bras, as long as they’re in good condition.
You can also support your community by ordering the dumplings, rice wine and spring rolls for your New Year celebration from local Asian restaurants.
Travelling, food and drinks
Most celebrations, especially Chinese New Year, centre on food. While there’s nothing better than sharing food with loved ones, it can often lead to waste. Another cause for concern is the amount of travelling people do during this time to celebrate with family and friends.
As part of your eco friendly Chinese New Year strategy, it’s important to think about these aspects of the celebration. In regards to travelling, you could consider carpooling to help save petrol and lower CO2 emissions. And to reduce food waste, you could use all the scraps to create organic fertilizer to donate to urban farmers or use in your garden. Leftovers can also be given to people in the community who are less fortunate or to charities.
To reduce waste created by drinks, use loose-leaf tea, and buy drinks bottled in recyclable containers. And above all, for an eco friendly Chinese New Year celebration, consider the effect of sky lanterns on the environment – they’re not only a fire hazard but create waste and can harm wildlife.