Plastic is the new paper according to the Bank of Canada for their currency. In an effort to deter counterfeiting the Bank of Canada will issue new $20 bills into circulation this week. The funny money will include “see-through sections, metallic images, raised inks, and hidden numbers” all extremely difficult to counterfeit (Bank of Canada). While most of this is in an effort to increase security, the new notes are also designed this way for the environment. Most would say these new bills look and feel cool but how can plastic be environmental?
If you think carefully about it, when was the last time that you threw away money? (In the literal sense not the expensive textbook that was supposed to be used “every week” or you will fail the course!) The answer is probably never. That is what Canada is hoping considering that the new bills are supposed to last 2.5 times longer than paper. This reduces both processing and replacement costs, making them environmentally friendly.
The Bank of Canada states that in laboratory tests these notes can be “boiled, frozen, and subjected to a number of substances such as coffee and honey” while still being able to come out clean and usable in the end. The switch to plastic money has many benefits to the government and to the users but environmentally I would still challenge this. Although the use of paper is absent from this currency you still have to replace it with another product. Plastic production in itself can be environmentally harmful considering the amount of toxins released in the process. While the bills are modernizing an outdated method the chosen material should be tested further to see if the environmental impacts are truly lowered in comparison to paper currency.
1. Sokoo, Daniel. For the Bank of Canada’s new $20 bill, plastic is fantastic. The Star. 8 November 2012. Web.
2. BankofCanadaOfficial. Canada’s New Polymer Bank Notes-Made to Last. YouTube. 31 October 2012. Web