7 ways to enjoy a sustainable CNY and Hari Raya

by Our Neighbourhood
7 ways to enjoy a sustainable CNY and Hari Raya

With the arrival of Chinese New Year and Hari Raya, the excitement of ushering in the festive period can lead many residents to stock up on red/green packets, festive decorations and goodies. To cut back on wastage, here are some recommendations for reducing waste while enjoying a more sustainable holiday.

1. Recycle red envelopes/green packets   

Do not discard the red and green packets after receiving them, as these items can be reused again. Get creative and give them a new lease of life through upcycling activities such as making lanterns or a decorative timeless centrepiece. Residents who receive packets that have a slot to close up rather than those with glue can reuse them for next year’s events.

2. Recycle gift hampers

Exchanging gifts is a CNY norm and many gift sets come with boxes, baskets and ribbons that can be reused. For instance, residents can turn the beautiful boxes into exquisite storage containers for personal items such as jewellery. Alternatively, they can repurpose the boxes and baskets to wrap gifts for loved ones during birthday and anniversary celebrations.

3. Repurpose CNY home decorations  

CNY decorations are often discarded once the festive season is over, but residents can consider repurposing non-zodiac decor for other festivals, such as Mid-Autumn, or reusing them during the next CNY.

4. Reuse festive goodie containers     

Chinese New Year and Hari Raya goodies are often stored in clear plastic containers, and discarding them after eating the snacks would be a waste. Instead, these can be reused to store dry items such as biscuits, spices and tea bags.

5. Make an environmentally friendly cleaning spray using mandarin orange peels

Mandarin oranges are always in surplus during CNY, and instead of eating so many, residents can try making a refreshing organic cleaning spray out of the peels. The spray can be used to clean the kitchen, windows and bathroom.


  • Gather peels from five to six oranges and some white vinegar.
  • Toss the peels into a mason jar and fill it with the vinegar.
  • Let it soak in a dark, cool place for two weeks. Shake it gently once in a while.
  • Fill an empty spray bottle with one part of the concoction and two parts water, and you’re good to go.

6. DIY your own pelita lamps

Instead of spending money to buy pelita oil lamps during Hari Raya, residents can try making lamps out of soft drink cans or glass jars. Those worried about open fire can consider buying reusable LED lamps.

7. Hari Raya clothes exchange

While buying new clothes is a Hari Raya tradition, why not be more eco-friendly this year and consider a clothes swap with a friend or relative of similar build? Residents can also consider getting pre-loved options on online platforms or attend clothes swap events. Such options are more cost-effective than buying new clothes, and help to contribute to less textile waste.