Reducing paper use during CNY

I agree wholeheartedly with Mrs Emily Leck Soh Teng's views ("Go green for red packets"; Monday) that while tradition is important, as we celebrate, let us spare a thought for the environment too.

I propose two ideas to cut paper use during Chinese New Year.

First, we could make the transition to smaller hongbao packets - where we would have to fold our notes in half instead of slotting the entire note in.

These are not only more environmentally friendly as they cut paper use by half, but they are also cuter and easier for young children to hold or put into their little pockets and bags.

If more companies that give out hongbao packets were to use these smaller packets, the behaviour of consumers can be shaped: If we already had such smaller hongbao packets on hand, we would probably just use those, rather than go out of our way to purchase bigger ones.

Second, organisations which give out hongbao packets in the run-up to Chinese New Year could set up recycling boxes in their stores.

For example, supermarkets could set up recycled cardboard boxes in their stores ahead of Chinese New Year, so that customers know that they can easily drop off their used hongbao packets once the festivities are over.

This will encourage customers to save their hongbao packets instead of throwing them away.

Jin Zhi Yan (Miss)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Reducing paper use during CNY'. Print Edition | Subscribe