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First Chinese Banknote
First Chinese Banknote
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Count Your Greens

No one has ever believed that "plastic" is good for our Planet. Banknotes, however, can certainly be considered a "green" method of payment.

You might assume that banknotes are made from actual paper. The material certainly looks and feels like paper. But if you think about it, if we carried A4-style paper money around with us and exchanged it on a daily basis, it wouldn't last long at all, it would most likely disintegrate in your pockets before you could spend it!

Looking back in history we can establish that the Chinese Ming Dynasty used paper money made from mulberry wood. It was clearly more practical than carrying round vast amounts of heavy gold coins.

In our modern times, 'paper' money is actually composed of 25 percent linen (does anyone remember the British Linen Bank-was it called that because its notes were made from linen?) and 75 percent cotton. Only the red and blue fibres of various lengths used to create the colourful details are synthetic.

The fact that cash is not made from paper is an important one. It makes it far more durable - lasting transaction after transaction - and also means that it is actually rather eco-friendly; its production does not involve wasting millions of tonnes of paper every year. We can all be reassured therefore that banknotes are not a contributing factor towards deforestation, the phenomenon that leaves us with increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and greatly worsens the greenhouse effect.

One must remember, however, that although it may be made of hard-wearing cotton and linen, sadly it still cannot survive a round in the washing machine. Any of us who have left money in clothing that has gone through a full wash cycle can certainly testify to that!

Monday, 29th November 2010

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