What to do with your empty angbao after Chinese New Year

There are other options besides just throwing them away.

Alicia Ang

Strength: Memorising lyrics. Weakness: Having least 144 tabs open at all times.

Published: 3 February 2022, 2:25 PM

As the Chinese New Year festivities come to an end, you might find a lot of empty angbao lying around. Angbao are red packets traditionally handed out by married couples to children during this period to wish them good luck.

Since angbao are gifts from loved ones, many often feel guilty about just throwing them away. But long gone are the days when that was your only option. 

Here are three ways you can repurpose or recycle your empty angbao. 

1. Make decorations for next Chinese New Year

Around this time of year, bright red decorations become commonplace to usher in the Chinese New Year. Instead of buying new decorations to hang up every year, you could use old angbao to make your own. 

A quick Google search for angbao decorations’ will show tons of crafts you can make like lanterns and paper flowers. You can even make the Zodiac animal of the year with them. The only limit with this option is your imagination.


Here are just a few that you can make to decorate your home. Left to right: lantern, origami fish, paper fan. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/ALICIA ANG

2. Turn them into paper boxes

Another craft you can try is turning your angbao into paper boxes. You might have seen this style of origami box used to hold trinkets, pens or food waste, but have you ever thought of using your angbao to make them?

All you need to do is cut off the seals of your angbao before slicing the long edges, and you’ll have a rectangle of paper perfect for this style of box.


The boxes can be made with the pattern facing in or out. PHOTO CREDIT: YOUTHOPIA/ALICIA ANG

3. Recycle them

Placing your empty angbao into recycling bins might feel like you are just throwing them away, but that definitely isn’t the case. Your empty angbao will be repurposed into paper and cardboard products that will benefit other people as opposed to staying unused in your home.

Many banks that give out angbao are also offering to recycle them, like DBS, OCBC and UOB. Local electricity retailer Geneco has also set up 30 red packet recycling bins around the island until Mar 31.

Now you no longer have to hoard or throw away your empty angbao. With this list, you can make sure that every angbao is put to good use even after Chinese New Year. 

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