The Bank of England says alternatives are too expensive and carry 'environmental risks'

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Friday, August 11, 2017 – 6:38am

The Bank of England is to keep printing bank notes on plastic derived from animal fat despite complaints from vegetarians and religious groups.

More than 130,000 people signed a petition calling on the Bank to stop using animal products. Its new polymer notes contain small amounts of tallow, which comes from sheep and cows. 

The public outcry which resulted from their introduction, which prompted some Hindu temples and vegetarian cafes to refuse to accept the new £5 note, led to a public consultation.

But now the Bank has said the only alternative to animal fat, a derivative of palm oil, carries with it “environmental risks” and has been ruled too expensive by the government. It said switching to palm oil would add about £16.5m to the cost of making the notes over the next ten years.

The polymer £20 and £10 notes, which are due to be launched in September, “are also affected by Thursday’s announcement”, says Reuters. The new notes are more durable and harder to fake than their paper predecessors.

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