Survey on Lunar New Year waste and rubbish


Survey objectives

The Lunar New Year is a major festival, and many locals will say “out with the old and in with the new” during this festive season. Also, they will buy Lunar New Year gifts for family and friends to express their good wishes for them. We have noticed in all this festive running around that a lot of waste is produced. To understand if the people create too much waste over the Lunar New Year, the DAB conducted a telephone survey that recorded 758 eligible responses.

Survey results and abstract

60.7% of respondents said that they would usually give old clothes and things to charity, while 18.6% would give them to friends and 5.3% simply threw them into the garbage. 34% said they wrapped New Year gifts with wrapping paper while 44.4% said they did not. 45.4% said that they would separate gift containers to recycle, while 25% said they did not. In terms of lai see/hongbao, 55.1% said that they and their family will would use new notes, while 37.8% said they didn’t care about this. Also, 51.7% said that they would save and reuse old lai-see packets while 22.2% said they threw them away and 26.1% would recycle them. In regards to food waste, 11.6% of respondents said that they will throw out the New Year food like niangao and snacks before they stay too long. When it comes to leftovers, 10.8% of respondents will not take them while 66% said they will take them home as long as there are any leftovers. When eating out, 10.8% said they will not take leftovers home while 59.3% said they will. In terms of recycling, 69% said they didn’t know that there were recycling drives during the Lunar New Year. 31% said they knew and of these, 52.3% said they participated in these drives and 38.3% said they did not.

Survey analysis and proposals

Environmentally friendly “annual cleanup”

We propose the government to cooperate with environmental and charity organizations to educate local residents on recycling old clothes and the locations where recycling bins or charities are located. Work together to help the environment and make the annual cleanup more environmentally friendly.

Enlightened gift-giving habits

Lunar New Year gifts have become more elaborate over the years to the point where each tiny gift has simple yet beautiful presentation that rivals traditional and more paper-intensive wrapping styles. We urge people to become enlightened consumers and purchase gifts with minimal wrapping to save on paper. This also helps prevent the issue of how to deal with leftover wrapping and boxes, etc.

Using good-as-new notes for the New Year

Other than using new notes for lai-see, three banknote-issuing banks have issued old good-as-new notes. These notes are still very fresh and crisp and utterly suitable for lai see/hong bao. We urge the people to choose these good-as-new notes as much as possible for lai see/hong bao. Also, we propose that everyone could recyclable lai-see packets.

​ Don’t waste food and bring your own containers

We propose that people should bring their own containers for leftovers and cut down on plastic waste.


The recycling industry should rev up publicity. The government should cooperate with them to communicate with the public within each district about recycling, and provide information through the internet on environmental protection and recycling activities during the holidays to attract more people to recycle.