The Bank of England said on Aug. 10 that it will not
change the chemical composition of the polymer in its bank notes,
meaning they will continue to contain trace elements (less than 0.05
percent) of tallow, an animal-derived byproduct. The bank determined
that the only alternative to tallow would be palm oil derivatives. The
decision affects the £5, £10, and upcoming £20 notes.
The announcement is a blow to animal-rights activists and some
religious groups and came after public consultation and official
analysis. Despite the public outcry, the Bank of England received only
3,554 responses to the consultation, 3,010 of them were against tallow
and 1,472 were against palm oil derivatives. A total 1,103 respondents
said they were against both.
The September 2017 cover feature explores
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many of which are now coveted delicacies.
Other topics include how to value unique collectibles, and an
outline of the history of what "paper money" is printed
on, from mulberry bark to plastics.
Factors affecting the determination included fears over the lack of
environmentally sustainable palm oil substitutes; the position of the
Bank’s “Central Bank peers”; the additional public cost of switching,
estimated to be £16.5 million, or $21.5 million, over 10 years; and
the accepted use of similar plastics in other everyday products,
including other payment methods.
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The bank maintains that polymer has important benefits compared to
paper, including security features, strength, durability, a lower
carbon footprint, and more value for the money for taxpayers.
The 23 page decision document can be read here.