Date: 10 September 2020
Old Bank of England banknotes that are taken out of circulation are destroyed. Since 2011, we have recycled most of our old paper banknotes. They are either used to create a soil improver or processed at a local energy recovery facility to generate electricity.
As composting is not suitable for polymer notes, we commissioned an independent third-party to conduct a lifecycle study assessing the environmental impacts of different waste treatment options. Recycling was the most favourable option. As a result, we have secured a UK-based recycling solution, which turns polymer banknotes into pellets before being transformed into new plastic items such as plant pots. A copy of the lifecycle study is available.