Let’s celebrate the Year of The Rabbit sustainably and safely

Chinese New Year, also called Lunar New Year or the Spring Festival, is an important festival that is being celebrated in East and South East Asia and by many communities across the world, including right here in Greater Manchester.

It celebrates the arrival of the lunar New Year, with each year featuring one of 12 Chinese zodiac animals which rotate annually. This year we’ll be welcoming the Year of The Rabbit, and according to the zodiac, those born in the year of the Rabbit are believed to be clever, compassionate and generous – just like the animal.

The festival begins on the first day of the new moon in the lunar calendar which will fall on 22 January this year and lasts for 15 days. There are many ways to celebrate the new year including spring cleaning, having feasts with family, gifting, fireworks display and more.

We’re sharing some top tips on how to start the Year of The Rabbit sustainably and safely – if you know someone who’ll be celebrating, help us spread the messages! Even if you’re not celebrating, read on to learn more about some handy tips on spring cleaning and reducing food waste.

Tips for spring cleaning

It is a tradition to clean your home before the new year arrives. As the word ‘dust’ in Chinese sounds similar to ‘old’, so cleaning your home drives away the old or bad luck from the previous year and creates a pleasant space to usher in good luck.

Clearing out items? Have a think if they could be recycled before throwing them in your general waste bin. Here’s our advice on how to recycle some of the items you might find:

  • Batteries – never bin them at home, pop them in the battery container in your local recycling centre or local supermarket.
  • Instructions for appliances – if you no longer need the instructions, recycle them in your paper and card bin.
  • Random nuts, bolts and Allen keys – you can recycle them in the scrap metal container at your local recycling centre.
  • Lightbulbs – you can take energy saving/ LED light bulbs to the fluorescent tube container at your local recycling centre. Incandescent light bulbs can’t be recycled, please put in your general waste bin.
  • Leads – put these in the small electrical container at your local recycling centre.

Find out more tips on decluttering your junk drawer or check if your items can be recycled.

Cleaning products you can make at home

Cleaning out your kitchen? Why not try using your ingredients at home to DIY cleaning products instead of buying. Check out Hubbub’s DIY guide on 6 cleaning products you can make using kitchen ingredients.

Be conscious about food waste

When preparing for your family feasts, it can be difficult to know how much everyone will eat. But remember wasting food harms our planet and wastes money too, so think before you buy and only buy what you’ll eat. Have a go at meal planning by taking steps including confirming the number of your guests, their dietary requirements and estimated portions, looking for ingredients you already have at home, and then create a shopping list.

If you have leftovers from your New Year Eve’s or New Years Day’s feasts, pack them up and store well in the fridge or freezer to keep them fresh. You can then create meals for the upcoming days or weeks. Learn how to store different kinds of food from Love Food Hate Waste.

Gift sustainably

New year family gatherings are normally accompanied with gifts like sweets, fruit, or biscuits.

If you’re buying treats for friends and family, ask them what they want so you know it’s something they will enjoy. If you received something that’s not to your taste, don’t let them go to waste! See if you can pass it on to someone who might like it more than you do. You can also donate unopened biscuits to your local food banks; search online to find your local one.

Thinking about wrapping your gifts? You can gift sustainably this year by using gift bags or wrapping paper made of paper so that they can be reused or recycled!

Recycle lucky red packets and gift wrap if possible

Want to stay sustainable? Red packets with glittery or shiny designs aren’t recyclable in your paper and card recycling bin, so please consider buying the non-shiny ones to help reduce waste. You can also go for some low waste alternatives including sending digital envelopes or making your own envelopes from red paper.

End up with a pile of empty red packets and wrapping paper after Lunar New Year? Check if you can recycle them. If they’re entirely made of paper, please put them in your paper and card recycling bin. If they’re made with foil, plastic or contains glitter, please put them in your general waste bin as these other materials contaminate the paper and card recycling.

Reminder if you’re celebrating with fireworks

Celebrating Lunar New Year with fireworks? Make sure you know how to dispose of them safely afterwards. Follow these simple steps below to dispose of your used fireworks:

  • Get a bucket of water ready before your display begins
  • Soak your used fireworks in water overnight if possible
  • Wrap your soaked fireworks in a plastic or compostable bag
  • Put it in your general waste bin or take it to your local recycling centre

For any unused fireworks, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service runs a fireworks amnesty where they will collect and dispose of your unused fireworks safely. Call 0800 555 815 for information.

Recycle for Greater Manchester