As nations join the Paris Agreement on climate change and work to become more sustainable, many are thinking about the environmental impact of their currency as well as its durability and security. Over the years, money has been made from a variety of materials, including leather in China during the Han Dynasty, shells, precious metals, cotton paper, and metal. Switching to polymer notes makes sense for countries concerned about the environmental impact of their currency. The information reflects the social and political environment of the time as well as the tools and resources that were accessible.
In China, transactions were once carried out using a string of precious metal coins connected by a central hole. But in the 7th century, there was a shift to paper money, which was more portable and used for bigger commercial transactions. Marco Polo brought word of the use of paper rather than coins on his journeys to Europe in the 13th century, and the Bank of Stockholm printed the first modern paper banknotes in Europe in 1661.
Over time, paper remained the preferred form of payment throughout the world. However, with recent technical advancements, plastic film notes now offer extra security measures in addition to durability and energy efficiency. Previous forms of currency included cotton paper, shells, precious metals, and cotton paper during the Han Dynasty. The information reflects the social and political environment of the time as well as the tools and resources that were accessible.
Move to plastic
Australia, which now entirely employs polymer and is preparing to introduce a new series of notes, beginning with the $5 bill in September, was the country that first released polymer banknotes in 1988. More than 20 nations, including Australia, Canada, Fiji, Mauritius, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Romania, and Vietnam, use polymer today.
After examining the effects of creating paper and plastic currency on the environment, the Bank of Canada started the transition to polymer banknotes in 2011. A life-cycle analysis examined the impact of each stage of production, from growing the cotton to make the banknote paper or producing the raw material for polymer notes through the destruction and disposal of used notes, including the primary energy requirements and the potential for global warming.
Paper performed worse than polymer in all phases and categories. For instance, the study discovered that, when compared to paper, a polymer bill promises a 32 percent reduction in the potential for global warming and a 30 percent reduction in the demand for basic energy. Most significantly, polymer notes endure up to twice as long as paper notes and even longer for higher denominations that are handled less frequently. This implies that over the course of a series, fewer polymer notes need to be produced and circulated. Additionally, polymer notes weigh less than paper ones and are therefore easier on the environment to transport and distribute.
Paper bills are often shredded and discarded in landfills when they reach the end of their useful lives. However, shredded polymer notes are turned into pellets and utilized to create commonplace plastic goods like lawn furniture.
After three years of research on the effects of moving away from cotton and linen paper notes, the Bank of England came to the same conclusion: plastic was the way to go. Sir Winston Churchill-adorned polymer £5 notes will go on sale in September 2016, followed by £10 Jane Austen notes in late 2017 and £20 notes by 2020.
In response to the U.K. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney defended the decision, claiming that polymer notes have a superior quality, are harder to counterfeit, and can be produced at a lesser cost to the public purse and the environment.
The plasticky texture of the bills causes conflicting reactions in regular users. However, Michael Brienza, a Toronto daycare teacher, says he prefers them because they're so much cleaner. Zo Martin, a tutor in Toronto, Canada, claims that they stick to each other due to static cling, don't fold up neatly like paper bills when they're new, and are slippery so they slide out of your pocket. The paper bills became filthy," says Peter Cecil Sinnott, a data science graduate of Montreal's McGill University, "but getting them wet won't cost you anything because they're waterproof. A new $100 bill from Canada was once discovered by my sister while she was diving in the tropics. Who can say how long it sat on that reef? ”