Eyes on PolyU

Reuse and recycle red packets

Every Lunar New Year thousands of red packets, or lai see, stuffed with money are exchanged physically as a token of good fortune and blessings. Giving red packets is a traditional and important part of Chinese New Year celebrations. But what would you do with the red packets when the celebrations are over? Do you have excess red packets piled up in the corner?

Some people are giving some serious thoughts to this and are coming up with good ways to help. With much creativity, they put their unused red packets to good use and turn them into decorations for the home. These small red envelopes become lanterns, fan ornaments, animals, and wheels of fortune.  Nevertheless, there are too many unused ones in the city that we can help save and recover.

Red packets can be given a second life


There were activities on the PolyU campus in the past to collect unused red packets. Staff and students were encouraged to drop the red packets into dedicated collection boxes. The red packets were gathered and donated to Greeners Action, a local green group that runs annual campaigns to collect and recycle disposed red packets. There were also other occasions that the red packets were redistributed to the campus community, allowing them to extend the life cycle of red packets from just one year to two years or even three. These activities are gaining greater awareness and attention on campus.

Campaigns to collect red packets on campus in the past few years


The appeal to reuse and recycle red packets invites us all to think and reflect on our actions and festive celebrations. In line with tradition, some people prefer to give out brand new red packets and banknotes. Some businesses and organizations print and give away new red packets to their clients every year. Do we need them all, and have we put aside the possible paper wastage problem? Are we aware that we can offer a bit of help and give the red packets a second life? Let us learn from the lessons gained on campus and do something to help reduce the number of packets used, or to reuse and recycle them. We can also try using mobile payment channels to send our blessings and money instead of the physical paper red packets!

Recycle unused red packets and drop them into the collection box


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