4 ways to celebrate a socially conscious Chinese New Year

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While January has come and gone, the Lunar New Year approaches and with it comes all the shopping, Chinatown crowd-surfing, and February heat - a good reminder to continue our efforts to stay socially conscious. We've put together a few tips to keep the climate-induced apocalypse at bay, so take a few notes and give your aunties something to talk about at the family gathering besides your love life.

PLASTIC ISN'T THAT FANTASTIC

Prepping your home for the onslaught of hungry visitors? If your family prepares homemade treats, your mom may have amassed an impressive stash of disposable plastic containers just for this very moment. While the effort is commendable, End the cycle of plastic use entirely and opt instead for glass jars and containers? Think mountains of golden pineapple tarts glistening in glass mason jars à la Kourtney Kardashian.

RETHINK YOUR TAKEAWAY PACKAGING

Did you know that food wastage in Singapore has increased up to 40 per cent over the last decade? I get it: cooking up a feast is customary for bringing in an auspicious year, for takeaways, ditch the styrofoam and source up biodegradable food packaging for guests to take home. While bringing metal straws around may be easy, we know that carting around all your cups and plates to each gathering really isn't an option. Instead, go for markers or wine charms to label paper tableware and reduce wastage.

OUT WITH THE OLD

If that red dress you bought last year hasn't been out of the closet since February, quit clinging to the past and let her go. Get a head start on your spring cleaning by donating old or unused clothes and textiles. Not only do many of these thrift stores help the less fortunate, being a wholesome person may earn you some karmic brownie points as well.

Where to go: New2U give clothes a second chance to find loving owners, and the proceeds also go to women's refuge Star Shelter and recycle textiles at places such as Green Square.

REINVENTING THE RED PACKET

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Has recyling used red packets (hong baos) ever crossed your mind? It may seem rude or even downright inauspicious to most, but consider upcycling them for your next art project or even for the next year. If going digital with e-hongbaos seems a little too transactional and cold, how about gifting your loved ones cash in a thoughtful little fabric receptacle?

Where to go: You can get simple fabric pouches off Personalised Love, designed by youth artisans with special needs. Purchasing these also offers them a chance to market their wares and while support youth beneficiaries at the same time.

This article was first published in City Nomads.