Our neighbors to the north are making environmental strides by changing the material they use to make their money. Canada’s first polymer bank note has just been unveiled, and is now being issued in $100 bills. The new notes are more durable than the country’s current paper bills and they can be recycled!
By 2012, Canada will begin introducing polymer $20 and $50 bills. The new notes are a feat for currency design and security. Many new security features make the notes harder to counterfeit, which include clear windows on the face of the note, and a maple leaf-shaped window that reveals the bill’s amount when held to the light.
Canada has seen an increase in counterfeit money over the last ten years, particularly in the $100 denomination. Taking note from Australia, who introduced polymer bills in 1988, and now suffers little counterfeiting, Canada decided to follow suit.
In addition to reducing counterfeiting, the polymer bills also carry a positive environmental impact as compared to their paper predecessors. Polymer bills are tough and durable, and can therefore outlast paper bills, which experience extraordinary wear and tear from regular circulation. The longer lasting bills mean less production, less energy spent, and less waste. Moreover, paper bills must be destroyed when rendered unusable, but the new notes’ plastic polymer can be recycled anew.
Canada already uses nearly indestructible coins for their $1 and $2 denominations, and the government hopes to reach 70-80% of circulation with the new polymer notes by mid 2013.