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Why Polymer?

Polymer BanknotesPolymer banknotes are manufactured from a transparent plastic film, specially coated with an ink layer that enables it to carry the printed design features of banknotes. The material allows the inclusion of ‘windows’ or clear portions in the design which enhance protection against counterfeits.

Polymer banknotes are:

  • Resistant to dirt and moisture so stay cleaner for longer than paper banknotes
  • More secure so will provide enhanced counterfeit resilience
  • More durable so will increase the quality of banknotes in circulation

Polymer banknotes are also more environmentally friendly than paper due to their durability. The Carbon Trust has certified that over their full life cycle, the carbon footprint of a £5 polymer banknote is 16% lower than the £5 paper banknote, while the carbon footprint of a £10 polymer banknote is 8% lower than the £10 paper banknote. This certification was completed in accordance to the international standard PAS 2050, looking at the full life cycle of greenhouse gas emissions related to the banknotes, including from their production, use in circulation and final disposal.

Life Cycle Assessment of paper and polymer notes report

Carbon Footprint Assessment report of £5 and £10 polymer notes

Carbon Footprint Certificate of £5 and £10 polymer notes

The waste from old polymer notes will be fully recycled, which is the option with the lowest environmental impact.