Published: Fri, August 11, 2017
Economy | By Annette Adams

Bank of England notes will continue to contain animal fat

Bank of England notes will continue to contain animal fat

Following a public consultation, the Bank said the new £20 note and future print runs of £5 and £10 notes will continue to be made from polymer, "manufactured using trace amounts of chemicals, typically less than 0.05%, ultimately derived from animal products".

In November 2016, the Bank of England had admitted that small traces of animal-derived products were used by a supplier in the manufacture of the new polymer 5 pound notes launched previous year.

On Thursday, the Bank of England, which prints bills circulated in England and Wales, said that it would continue to use the polymer for the 5-pound note, worth about $6.50, introduced a year ago, as well as the £10 bill that debuts in September and the £20 note that will enter circulation by 2020.

Earlier this year, the Bank said there would be no change to the composition of the existing £5 notes or to the forthcoming new £10 and £20 notes.

It says the only viable alternative is palm oil, which has its own issues about cost and environmental sustainability. "The bank has had to balance these responses against its other public duties and priorities as well as the other evidence gathered over the past months", the bank said. "Value for money was also a consideration in the Bank's decision", the bank said in a statement.

The Bank made the decision despite 88% of respondents being against the use of animal-derived additives. It would also have cost an estimated £16.5 million to switch to this material source with the taxpayer bearing the additional brunt - something HM Treasury advised the Bank was not value for money.

The Bank also found that tallow is present in lots of other common plastic items, which have all managed to avoid the focus the new notes were given.

The security and longevity of polymer-based note still make them worth adopting, and more environmentally friendly over their lifecycle, the news release added.

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