MAS destroys millions of S$2 notes after each Chinese New Year as they exceed circulation demand

Contrary to popular belief, new notes don't remain in circulation.

Belmont Lay | December 28, 2021, 04:28 PM

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The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) urged members of the public to use e-hongbao and reuse notes to reduce the use of new notes this coming Chinese New Year.

According to the authority in a media release on Dec. 28, a “large proportion” of new notes, particularly the S$2 bills, are returned by members of the public after Chinese New Year and subsequently destroyed as it "far exceeds normal circulation demand".

MAS said it issues about 100 million new notes annually for Chinese New Year and other festive periods.

MAS added: “The carbon emissions from the production, transportation, and destruction of such new notes each year is highly wasteful, unnecessary, and impacts the environment negatively.”

Reducing usage of new notes and reusing old ones will reduce the environmental impact of issuing new notes to “support the environment and reduce queues at bank branches”, MAS added.

Married couples give hongbao, or red packets, to children during Chinese New Year.

MAS also said it has been working to develop e-gifting alternatives to physical hongbao with the Association of Banks in Singapore and financial technology firms.

Giving of e-hongbao are a safe, simple, and speedy alternative and also enable family and friends who may be unable to meet during the pandemic to continue with the tradition of festive gifting, it said.

MAS also mooted the idea of giving QR gift cards instead of using new notes.

“Most of the notes in circulation in Singapore are clean and of good quality, and suitable for use in festive gifting,” MAS said.

Top photos via Unsplash & Tanya Ong

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