Currency Case studies
Our goal is to be carbon neutral by 2030 for our own operations and to reduce the environmental impact of banknote production and circulation while supporting easy access to cash for all.
By offering a comprehensive and transparent means of assessment to our customers, we enable informed decision making throughout the process of bank note creation. Through this process, we work with our customers to deliver sustainable products for the global community.
De La Rue operates the Bank of England’s print works. As part of the transition to a polymer series of banknotes, De La Rue worked with the Bank to ensure that the waste from the production and circulation of polymer notes could and would be recycled. Banknotes are seldom thrown away at the end of their life but returned to the Bank, creating a closed loop system. Based on its experience in manufacturing its own polymer substrate, and printing polymer, De La Rue now offers its other customers an assessment service to evaluate and qualify local and regional recycling requirements and solutions.
As part of this service, De La Rue carries out impact assessments to help customers quantify whether to use a paper or polymer substrate and the implications on the carbon footprint of their design choices. In the UK, De La Rue worked with a UK recycling supplier on the changes to processes necessary to recycle polymer compared with handling paper-based products.
Between 2016 and August 2021 our site has recycled about 1,150 tonnes of polymer waste. Today 100% of De La Rue’s own polymer waste from the production process is recycled and the polymer used by the Bank and other customers around the world, is recycled. De La Rue also provides an assessment service to evaluate and qualify local and regional recycling requirements and solutions. If customers outside of the UK do not have suitable local or regional recycling, De La Rue is able to identify alternative suppliers. Whilst it may seem counter-intuitive to ship end of life banknotes long distances by sea, the comparative carbon output is significantly lower per km than any other form of travel, meaning that closer, land-locked recycling alternatives may have a higher carbon footprint.
Carbon Neutral Bank Notes
In 2020, the world’s first carbon neutral banknote was launched by the Central Bank of Samoa, supported by De La Rue’s Carbon Neutral service.
This service enables customers to easily assess the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions and environmental impact of their banknotes. This data enables the issuing authority to participate in a carbon offset programme of their choosing to accurately neutralise the environmental impact of their purchased products.
We offer this service because of our commitment to understanding the impact of our operations at all stages and we will continue to improve our robust framework to increase the accuracy of this service.
De La Rue can provide specific Environmental Impact Assessments detailing the impact of individual denominations or series at all stages in their lifecycle. We offer this service for both paper and polymer substrates.