With so many sweet treats like pineapple tarts known locally as Ong Lai and Bak Kwa (the deep red sweet barbequed jerky), it's easy to come home with bags full of disposables plastic containers while prepping up. But it's also just as easy not to!
1. Plan ahead of Chinese New Year
Planning ahead means you can organize yourself so as to bring all your reusable grocery bags with you to the markets, and find time to home prep fresh wet market produce (bought loose), such as yu sheng or trays of togetherness instead of buying last-minute pre-packed foods at the supermarket.
2. Prepare your reusables & check with vendors!
Maybe you don't have that many reusable grocery bags at home, but we'd be surprised if you didn't! In case you're really stuck, ask a few neighbours if you can borrow theirs. Think tiffins, jars, and Tupperware, which are great if you plan on freezing leftovers for later. While we don't encourage reusing disposables that were never destined for multiple use, if the shop practices it, ask them if post CNY you can return the plastic boxes or jars from your purchase. Project beECOme worked with +10bakeries who agreed to offer discounts if you BYO or return the cookie jars.
3. Skip the red envelope
Well not entirely - but those envelopes are truly no better than single-use paper bags! There are other ways to give the traditional little hong bao, such as using felt pockets that can be reused time and time again. You can even opt for a e-hong bao which forgoes all the wrapping in the first place - the receiver will be able to tap their smartphones to receive the gifted funds.
4. Ask for reusables at the office
Lo hei, or tossing of the yu sheng for prosperity, is a tradition which today comes wrapped in individual bowls - that makes a lot of plastic for a full office! Ask your office to be responsible when sourcing the food - why not support a local hawker and ask them to prep, without individually bagging instead of buying from the supermarket.
5. Take home and share leftovers
A lot of food also means a lot of wasted food as a result. Singapore breaks records in terms of food waste, while Food Bank reports that 1 in 10 Singaporeans struggles to put food on the table every month. Remind yourself how lucky you are to have more than enough food, and make an effort to reduce waste and when and where possible, donate to those who are less fortunate.
Not ideal having to remember bringing your mugs and containers (in sufficient quantities) from home all the time? Forgot or just didn't think you'd need them? Why not grab a barePack at a local vendor? Simply download the barePack™ app for Android or iOS to get started, or suggest your company gets a corporate plan - it's a win for everyone!
barePack wishes everyone a fantastic and conscious start to the Year of the Rat! Gong Xi Fa Cai!