I went to three local banks recently and they ran out of new currencies for the day. It is Chinese New Year (CNY) fever again and the queues at the banks for new currencies were madness. The same can be said for premier bank customers. They too had to wait. The only difference was that they waited in the comfort of the lounge.
The Straits Times reported that about 100 million new notes were printed each year. After the end of CNY and when the new notes were deposited back to the bank accounts, up to 40 million new notes (40% of total) had to be incinerated. This is a terrible waste of resources.
I know that it is considered a good gesture to give crisp currency notes for Hongbao. It had been a tradition. For this year, I am going to break this tradition.
Two advantages of doing so are obvious. One is that it is a sheer waste of time to queue at the bank for new notes. Two, I am doing my part to be eco in my action.
$10, $5 and $2 currencies are now polymer notes and this makes them more durable than paper currencies of the past. Used notes in current circulation still look as good as new. Furthermore, money is money whether it is new or old notes.
Therefore, I had withdrawn money from the ATM for my Hongbao packets this year, minus the horrendous queue in the bank!