Plans are in place to introduce plastic money in 2016. Initially, current £5 notes would be replaced with plastic £5 notes that will be made from polymer plastic, before moving on to the production of plastic £10 notes. Existing £5 notes have a life expectancy of just one year due to their composition and are commonly shredded in industrial compost once they become unusable. Therefore, in order to overcome this problem, researchers have been investigating the benefits of introducing plastic money.
Using plastic money would be following in the examples of countries like Australia. In Australia there bank notes have a much longer life expectancy but when they do come to the end of their lives they are recycled and turned into other plastic items like plant pots, subsequently highlighting the environmental benefits of using polymer bank notes.
In addition to the environmentally friendly nature of such bank notes recent research has also stressed the importance of transferring money to become manufactured out of polymer instead. Their research that has taken place over the last three years recognises 3 fundamental advantages of using polymer money instead. These include:
Cleaner – The new bank notes would be more resistant to water and dirt, therefore their lifetime would be extended as it would take longer from the note to become damaged from everyday dirt that simply accumulates in the transference of money on a daily basis. The new polymer money would be easier to wipe clean to avoid smudging and might even withstand the washing machine.
Durable – It is argued that these new bank notes would have an extended lifetime of up 2.5 times longer than current bank notes. It is therefore argued that although the bank notes might be more costly to produce, the savings that would be made due to the longer lasting lifespan of bank notes means that in the long run money will be saved.
Secure – Considering the threats that exist in this day and age and particularly the ever growing threat of fraud, any steps that could possible reduce fraudulent activities should be taken. It is argued that the new polymer money would be less likely to be able to be counter fitted due to its unique properties.