MAS to cease issuing Good-as-New $2 notes for Lunar New Year 2023

The public is encouraged to use Fit-for-Gifting currency notes or e-hongbaos as more sustainable alternatives.

Benjamin Chew

Only drinks bubble tea with 100% sugar.

Published: 7 December 2022, 6:38 PM

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) will stop issuing Good-as-New (GAN) $2 notes starting from Lunar New Year 2023.

According to a press release by MAS on Tuesday (Dec 6), this is part of an initiative to encourage the public to go green and use Fit-for-Gifting notes and e-hongbaos which are more sustainable alternatives.

Fit-for-Gifting notes are used currency notes that are clean and of suitable quality for recirculation and festive gifting. The condition of these notes have also been verified by banknote processing machines and are found to be of similar quality as notes from ATMs.

They are also more sustainable than GAN $2 notes which require additional processing and generate more carbon emissions. Those who prefer giving physical red packets for Lunar New Year can play a part in protecting the environment by choosing to use these Fit-for-Gifting notes.

Approximately 100 million pieces of GAN notes are released annually for Lunar New Year and other festive periods, but a large number of those are used only once for gifting and returned to MAS shortly after Lunar New Year celebrations.

MAS stated that while most of the returned GAN notes are recirculated, the supply far exceeds the demand and excess notes are subsequently destroyed before the end of their useful life.

It also added that this practice of printing new notes for festive gifting and subsequently destroying most of them is not in line with environmental sustainability and Singapore’s 2050 net zero carbon emission goal.

New notes printed annually just to meet the demand for festive gifting generate unnecessary carbon emissions, which are comparable to powering 430 four-room HDB flats. To offset the amount of carbon emissions, 10,000 trees would have to be planted, says MAS.

To reduce carbon emissions generated from printing new notes, MAS and ABS will work together and make Fit-for-Gifting notes more accessible to the public.

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