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421.9001

insight

Go Green: Good-as-new Notes

(Translation)

Mina:
The Chinese New Year will begin sometime next week. Starting from tomorrow, the three note-issuing banks will make available brand-new notes to the public. Will you go with me to get some new notes?

Ronnie:
Of course, I am happy to go with you. However, to be “in”, you should consider getting good-as-new notes instead.

Mina:
What do you mean by “good”? Are you saying that some new notes are good while some are not?

Ronnie:
I mean “good-as-new notes”, not “good new notes”! These are notes that have already been circulated but are still in very good condition. As most people who receive lai see only care about the denomination of the notes, whether the notes are new or not does not really matter. More importantly, using good-as-new notes instead of brand-new ones for lai see is more environmental friendly.

Mina:
How is it related to environmental protection?

Ronnie:
In order to meet the seasonal demand for lai see money for the Chinese New Year, the three note-issuing banks have to print additional new notes. These brand-new notes, after being put into and taken out of lai see packets, will quickly find their way back to the banking system as used notes. Don’t you think that it is really a huge wastage?

Mina:
Since it is for environmental protection, I will definitely give my full support. By the way, how do the good-as-new notes get sorted out from other used notes?

Ronnie:
Used notes returned to the vaults of note-issuing banks will be screened by note-sorting machines. Those that are clean and in very good condition will be set aside as good-as-new notes for lai see money.

Mina:
How long is the average lifespan of a banknote?

Ronnie:
The lifespan of banknotes of different denomination varies. In general, the lifespan of a banknote is around three years and those old and torn notes will be destroyed.

Mina:
I know that the Chinese name of good-as-new notes is “Ying-San notes” (迎新鈔) which literally means “notes to welcome the new year” and rhymes with "notes that are still new" in Cantonese. Who came up with such an ingenious name?

Ronnie:
The HKMA held a note-naming competition ten years ago and invited primary school students to propose Chinese name for these good-as-new notes which we often call “fit notes” internally within the HKMA. A primary six student came up with the name “Ying-San note” (迎新鈔票) and became the champion. We have been using this Chinese name since then.

Mina:
Regarding environmental protection, the HKMA’s efforts are not limited to the good-as-new notes. The Coin Collection Programme launched some two years ago also manifests our support to help protect the environment. Coins collected from the public daily by our two coin carts are circulated to merchants who need coins to run their business. This process speeds up the circulation of coins and reduces the need for minting new coins as well as the associated minting cost.

Ronnie:
I have joined a coin cart visit to a secondary school earlier to promote the concept of environmental protection behind the coin carts. Many students came to the coin cart with their piggy banks during recess and lunch time to exchange their spare coins for banknotes or adding value to Octopus cards. They were amazed at the speed of the coin-counting machines and were happy to receive “Coin Cart” paper crafts as souvenir from the HKMA. Schools that are interested in the coin cart visit can contact the HKMA for more details.

Good-as-new notes are still clean and in very good condition.  Using them for lai see is more environmental friendly.
Good-as-new notes are still clean and in very good condition. Using them for lai see is more environmental friendly.

Students are happy to receive the “Coin Cart” paper craft as souvenir after exchanging their spare coins.
Students are happy to receive the “Coin Cart” paper craft as souvenir after exchanging their spare coins.

Written by Ronnie and Mina, the two specially-assigned ‘Observers’ who go around the HKMA office in IFC, Central, collecting interesting facts and sharing them with you from time to time.

Last revision date: 16 January 2017
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