What Happens To Paper Notes After They’re Out Of Circulation?

There are millions of useless paper notes still out there...

They're headed for the farm... Image pixabay

With polymer ten pound notes about to make their debut and paper five pound notes officially obsolete, you’re probably wondering: where do ALL those remaining paper notes go?

Right now there are 723,000,000 paper ten-pound notes in circulation at the moment, and in a mere three to four months they will be useless.

The Bank of England has come up with a way to dispose of them that gives back to the Earth.

They are currently turning our paper fivers and soon to be tenners into compost, using a treatment that is similar to food waste composting.

ten pound note
Bank of England

This mulch is then used as a soil improver for agriculture. Therefore, it’s fair to say you’re literally eating money when you bite into a fruit or vegetable.

Until 1990 and before composting, returned Banknotes were incinerated, and the energy produced by this method was used to heat the bank.

Eventually, the notes were taken offsite and burned elsewhere for energy recovery.

ten pound note
Old Ten Pound Note


Now with the advent of polymer, the plans for disposing of returned polymer notes is pretty impressive, according to the Bank of England website:

“The Bank has secured a UK based recycling solution, for polymer notes to be turned into pellets before being transformed into new plastic items such as plant pots.”

So there you go, try growing a tree in one of those pots, perhaps it will sprout something unexpected.

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