Fantastic Food. Fabulous Firecrackers. People from all castes and creeds love the Chinese New Year, but behind the festivities lie truths that you probably never stopped to think about.
Everyone loves good food, but after eating your Chinese New Year meal do you think about the food waste that your weekend of indulgence has created? In 2016, in Singapore alone, 791,000 tonnes of food was wasted over the CNY period, around the weight of 3,500 MRT trains! One of the most popular dishes to eat during this holiday is yu sheng, or “prosperity toss,” consisting of a HUGE bowl of noodles, vegetables, and fish. The major problem with foods like yu sheng, particularly when you order them at restaurants like Din Tai Fung, is that because it is such a large dish, and lots of it ends up on the table in the famous toss, there is inevitably lots of food wastage. What can we do to stop this? If your family has the annual reunion dinner, one thing that might help is to perhaps cook slightly less food than usual to help avoid leftovers, or you could eat whatever is leftover from the dinner the next evening.
The red packets containing money that are exchanged during CNY are loved by people of all ages, but they are one more reason that many trees are cut down. An environmental conservancy called Greeners Action have said that since 2014 about 16,300 trees are cut down each year to make 320 million Hong Bao to be exchanged in Hong Kong alone. Is it really worth losing all those trees just so that you can gift money in a decorative piece of paper? We understand that it is a tradition, but if your family is to carry out this tradition, it might be worth considering how you could reuse old envelopes instead of immediately throwing them away.
Cleaning Produces Waste
Ah, spring cleaning. The cleaning at CNY is a symbolic gesture that represents the sweeping away of misfortune; however, all rubbish ends up somewhere, and in this case the bad luck swept out of homes quite literally ends up in our landfills. Even without all of this spring cleaning, the Semakau Landfill is expected to fill up in fifteen years, so with CNY meaning that many more homes are getting rid of waste all at once, it doesn’t exactly help to stop this crisis. If you are one of the families who takes part in this yearly practice, please enjoy your yearly clean, but perhaps also give your old things a new purpose this CNY instead of simply throwing them away.
Overall, CNY is a great holiday and we all enjoy it, but we can still enjoy it whilst also thinking more about our environment. Even the smallest of changes to the way we celebrate could create big changes for the future of our planet.