Photo of someone holding shredded banknotes.

Even though polymer banknotes last much longer than paper banknotes, they do have a finite circulating life. The time that they can remain in circulation is largely dependent on quality expectations.

With the increasing importance of environmental issues around the world, it is important to note that polymer banknote waste is recyclable. Worn out paper banknotes are difficult to recycle at the end of their useful life. Polymer banknotes and the waste from the production process, on the other hand, can be recycled into products such as building components, plumbing fittings, compost bins and other household and industrial products.

In order to recycle old polymer banknotes, they are first shredded into small confetti-like pieces. The shredded banknotes are then passed through a special machine that melts them and makes them into pellets, which are then ready to be used as the raw material for recycling into other products.