Can plastic banknotes be recycled and does the Royal Mint?

Aerial view of a cash register

What happens to banknotes with the Queen? (Image: Getty)

Following After the Queen’s death, there will be many changes in our daily lives – big and small changes.

From the introduction of Charles’ insignia replacing the ER symbol, many have become familiar with things like mailboxes, to the eventual introduction of new money and postage stamps.

This means a new portrait of Charles will be commissioned from which millions of pounds’ worth of new currency will be printed and distributed across the UK.

While it will be some time yet, here’s what we can expect with notes about Queen Elizabeth II during the reign of Charles III….

Are plastic banknotes recycled with the Queen?

The old currency bearing the image of the Queen will eventually be phased out and there are precedents to suggest they will be replaced.

First of all, everything related to banknotes is handled by the Bank of England.

While the Royal Mint is associated with anything branded with images of the monarch, it is only responsible for issuing the coins of the United Kingdom.

No portrait has been set for the coins of Charles, but there are initial suggestions as to what the new coins from the Royal Mint could look like.

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The Bank of England, on the other hand, has grappled with the introduction of new banknotes in recent years.

When new polymer notes were introduced in 2016 – starting with the £5 note – and then a new £20 polymer note in 2020 and a £50 note in 2021, the Bank of England said, what happens to the phase-out of paper and polymer banknotes.

They explain: “The Bank of England will fully separate paper and polymer banknote waste. Old polymer notes are recyclable and are shredded and melted into pellets before being recycled into plastic items like flower pots.’

For now, however, the Bank of England said banknotes bearing Queen Elizabeth II will still be considered legal money to be exchanged and that an additional announcement will be made about the country’s existing banknotes once the mourning period has been observed.

someone holding a £10, £20 and £50 polymer UK banknote

Polymer notes have been introduced in recent years (Picture: Getty)

“As the first monarch to feature on Bank of England notes, the Queen’s iconic portraits are synonymous with some of the most important work we do,” she continued.

However, this is likely to be a gradual process, meaning money bearing her image may still be circulating years after her death.

MORE : Full chronicle of Queen Elizabeth II’s extraordinary life as she dies aged 96

MORE : First picture of King Charles on duty – with Queen’s photo in the background

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Justin Scacco

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