Canada to Switch to Plastic Money They Can Recycle

Canada is rolling out new currency. Unlike the U.S. this new currency will not be printed on paper, but on a plastic polymer. The hope is the bills will remain in circulation longer and be harder to counterfeit. An added feature for all you germaphobes out there is the bills will be able to be washed and sanitized.

Further, scientific evaluation has shown that there is significantly less bacteriological growth on polymer banknotes, and that any bacteria which gets onto the notes quickly dies because of the lack of nutrients on the non-porous and non-fibrous material:

“Microbial populations on banknotes – Die-off of the microbial populations is more rapid on polymer notes than on paper notes and is probably due to lack of moisture and nutrient on the notes.

Polymer notes appear to absorb less moisture than paper notes and fewer micro-organisms adhere to the surface.

The change from paper to polymer for banknotes will result in even lower populations of micro-organisms being carried on money, and in more rapid decline of those micro-organisms which do adhere to the notes.” – Source

Now that a real positive especially when you consider that 90 percent of U.S. $20 bills were contaminated with some cocaine residue. Last nights snort stick can become tomorrows change for your chicken nuggets. How appetizing. Apparently I now need some Purell to pay for something. Instead of carrying around a condom in the wallet you can carry one of these.

Canada isn’t the first country to use the polymer currency, Australia has been using it since 1988. Other countries have adopted the polymer notes as well, including Thailand, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Kuwait, Western Samoa, Singapore, Romania, China, Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico, Brunei, Sri Lanka and New Zealand. The company that prints this plastic based currency has also printed notes for Nigeria but I hear you can’t get one unless you first send a Nigerian email scam message asking for advanced fees for free money you’ll never send.

The experience in Australia with the plastic money is that rather than hanging around in circulation for only six months, like their paper currency did, it now survives for up to 40 months. Now that seems like it could be a good thing, depending on how much is actually costs to print the darn stuff.

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And yes, recycling was one of the stated features of the new polymer notes. I’ll tell you what though, I doubt you’ll find much currency out on the curb on recycle pickup day.


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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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