What are the new banknotes made of and why has the material changed?

England banknotes

Polymer banknotes are made from a thin, very flexible plastic (Picture: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images)

While many of us spend money with debit or credit cards, there’s always a place for cash.

It’s a good idea to check yours put money in too, as all the old paper £20 and £50 notes will soon no longer be valid for use in shops – so you only have a small window of opportunity to spend them.

They have been replaced by newer notes that have been in circulation for some time. Interestingly, they are not made of the same paper, but of a completely different material.

So what are they now and why the change?

Here’s everything you need to know.

What are the new banknotes made of?

New notes are now made of polymer (a type of thin, very flexible plastic).

Bank of England £20 notes

Paper £20 notes cannot be used beyond September 2022 (Image: Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

earlier the The Bank of England – which makes all the banknotes for England and Wales – made them from paper.

The two paper notes still in circulation, the £20 and £50, are due to be phased out for use in shops, pubs and restaurants soon. In fact, the last day you can use them is today (Friday, September 30, 2022).

That means you can still deposit them with your bank so you don’t lose anything.

The first polymer note to be launched in the UK was the new £5 note in September 2016, followed by the £10 note in September 2017 and the £20 note a few years later in February 2020.

The £50 notes were the last to undergo the substantive change, coming into circulation in June 2021.

Of course, we will also see a change in banknotes in the years to come as the image of Queen Elizabeth II is eventually replaced by the image of King Charles III. is replaced.

Incidentally, UK coins are manufactured separately by the Royal Mint.

Why has the material changed?

In January 2020, the bank explained some reasons for the switch in a blog post.

One of those reasons was security – the discussion of “enhanced” features like a see-through window and hologram images – making it much harder for scammers to create fakes.

The Bank of England added: “A polymer five is expected to last two and a half times longer than the old £5 note” – although you probably shouldn’t be trying to test that theory.

Since they last longer, they are considered “greener”.

Old paper banknotes from the Bank of England

Old banknotes were printed on paper, not polymer (Image: Jim Dyson/Getty Images)

It says: ‘The Carbon Trust has certified that a polymer Fiver has a 16% lower carbon footprint than its paper predecessor.’

Finally, the polymer notes are said to be cleaner, or easier to keep clean, as their typically “smooth surfaces” seem to resist dirt and moisture more easily.

So there you have it!

MORE : Can plastic banknotes be recycled and does the Royal Mint?

MORE : What to do with expired notes when old £20 and £50 notes are phased out?

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/09/30/what-are-the-new-bank-notes-made-of-and-why-has-the-material-changed-17476010/ What are the new banknotes made of and why has the material changed?

Justin Scacco

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