Not only are they vegan-unfriendly, polymer banknotes – at least in England – are also nearly three times worse for the environment than their cotton-paper counterparts.
This according to research from Moneyboat, a U.K.-based short-term and payday loan lender. The study found the production of the U.K.’s new £10 polymer note (despite its longer lifespan and contrary to the Bank of England’s initial claims about polymer’s eco-friendliness) emits 8.77 kilograms of carbon dioxide.
The older cotton-paper notes emit only 2.92 kilograms.
Similarly, the emissions created by manufacturing £5 polymer notes are 4.9 kilograms compared to only 1.8 kilograms for paper.
“In short, the comparison concludes that the greenest way to pay is by credit or debit card,” wrote Dave Keating in a story published by Forbes this August. “With the world quickly moving to cashless payments, the impact of the new polymer banknotes may not be felt much longer.”