Put your money where your mouth is

By Teamspirit on Thursday, 10 August 2017

You may remember the row last November when it emerged that the new plastic fivers released in 2016 contain traces of tallow, a material derived from animal fat.

Despite an extreme backlash from vegetarians, vegans, human rights and religious groups, including an online petition receiving more than 120,000 signatures, the Bank of England refused to remove the substance from the banknotes but agreed to look into palm oil alternatives.

This week, following a public consultation, it has emerged that the new £20 note and future prints of £5 and £10 notes will continue to use the polymer. This is down to the environmental impact of using palm oil, and also after concluding that the alternative would not offer “value for money” for taxpayers.

It will be interesting to see whether the high level of negative attention around the new plastic notes could contribute to the rise of contactless payments, if the 88% who objected to the use of animal-derived ingredients in the BOE survey are compelled to act on their principles.

The irony, of course, is that traces of the same polymer can be found in many everyday items – including bank cards and smartphones.

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