While some of us may be familiar with receiving (…or giving) new and crisp notes during Lunar New Year in angpows (red packets), that’s about to change during the upcoming Lunar New Year next January.
In particular, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) just announced today (6 December) that these new notes, known as “Good-as-New” (GAN) notes, will no longer be produced by MAS during the festive season starting next year.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking. The notes are really called GAN for short.
Instead, the authority has encouraged Singaporeans to use e-angpows, or their new “Fit-for-Gifting” (FIT) notes, for angpow-giving in the future years instead.
Will No Longer Produce Good-as-New Notes Due to Environmental Impact
In their statement, MAS explained that the main reason behind the decision to stop printing GAN notes was due to the excessive and negative environmental impact that producing these notes has on the environment.
This is especially so since GAN notes are mainly used once when people give them away during festive periods, and many of these notes are then returned to MAS after that.
“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,” MAS added afterwards, pointing out just how wasteful GAN notes can be.
MAS also revealed that producing these notes results in a large amount of unnecessary carbon emissions, with the amount of carbon emissions produced enough to power around 430 four-room HDB flats in Singapore.
In addition, 10,000 new trees would need to be planted to mitigate the carbon emissions generated.
Along with the country’s goal to become more ecofriendly and reach zero carbon emissions by 2050, MAS has decided to stop printing GAN notes.
But if pulling the last random $2 notes out of your wallet to fill up your angpows doesn’t seem like a good idea (actually, it really isn’t), MAS has still got you covered.
Introducing… the more sustainable “FIT” notes.
And no, they’re not really “fit”. I bet they can’t even run 2.4km.
New Replacement: “FIT” Notes
If you’re wondering what on earth FIT notes are, here’s all you need to know.
According to MAS, FIT notes are “used currency notes that are generally clean and of suitable quality for recirculation, including for festive gifting.”
And if you’re worried about whether they’ll look nice or presentable in the angpows you’re distributing to your relatives, don’t worry.
Bank processing machines have been employed to check that the notes are in good condition, and MAS has also said that the quality of these notes is similar to that of the notes that are dispensed from automated teller machines (ATMs).
Without the extra carbon emissions, FIT notes are thus a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly option for those who still want to give out physical angpows.
As for how you can exchange or reserve them for the upcoming Lunar New Year, more information will be released in due time towards the end of 2022.
MAS also assured the public that they would be “working closely with the banks” to ensure that these notes are more accessible to the public.
As for those who prefer sending out e-angpows instead, the various banks in Singapore have also changed the designs of their e-angpows to make them more appealing and personalised over the years.
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Ms Cindy Mok, the Assistant Managing Director (Finance, Risk & Currency) from MAS also personally encouraged Singaporeans to utilise more FIT notes or e-angpows during the upcoming festive season as they can still spread the same message of blessings while being more environmentally friendly.
Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, the Director of the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), echoed similar sentiments, saying, “ABS will continue to support more sustainable alternatives for festive gifting which will make a meaningful difference to the environment.”
She added that the banks recommend that customers use FIT notes and angpows.
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