Plastic banknotes which are believed to be more environmentally friendly than the current cotton paper currency are set to be issued in the UK in the next three years.
The Bank of England made the announcement this week following a three year research programme and public consultation.
The new polymer banknotes (pictured) will replace the money currently used which have been in circulation for more than 300 years.
Polymer banknotes are more resistant to dirt and stay cleaner for longer and will be cheaper to produce, which will see a reduction in their environmental footprint. They can also be easily recyclable for other plastic items such as plant pots.
Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England said: “Ensuring trust and confidence in money is at the heart of what central banks do. Polymer notes are the next step in the evolution of banknote design to meet that objective. The quality of polymer notes is higher, they are more secure from counterfeiting and they can be produced at lower cost to the taxpayer and the environment.”
The first polymer note will be the £5 note featuring Sir Winston Churchill. Nearly 13,000 people gave feedback during the public consultation programme – 87% were in favour of polymer, only 6% opposed and 7% were neutral.