Durable, flexible, dirt-resistant: Why Egypt’s new plastic money 'environment-friendly'



Mon, 11 Jul 2022 - 12:11 GMT


Mon, 11 Jul 2022 - 12:11 GMT

New EGP10 plastic notes issued in Egypt

New EGP10 plastic notes issued in Egypt

CAIRO – 11 July 2022: This month, the Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has issued the first EGP 10 plastic banknote, and will soon issue its EGP 20, in a move that is meant to contribute to the country’s sustainable development programs.


But how does the new polymer-made currency contributes to Egypt Vision 2030?


Although one can go cashless in Cairo, and use their credit cards to finish a purchase or a booking, at hotels, some restaurants and shops, there are still many places that either do not use card machines or prefer cash.


Receiving old money that is torn, dirty and tattered is very possible when getting exchange after a purchase in Cairo. The continuous use of the paper money shortens its lifecycle, which means it could end up in the landfill.


Old and torn EGP20 paper note 


On the other side, plastic money, which is made of polymer, is flexible, water-resistant and durable.  


First used as currency-making material in Australia in 1988, Polymer is characterized by its light weight, which obviously will facilitate its transportation and circulation process.


australia money
Australia's first polymer-made money in 1988


Speaking with Environmentalist Dr. Sawsan el-Awady, she told Egypt Today that polymer is an environmentally friendly material for various reasons, including “its carbon footprint is 16 percent less than regular banknotes.”


Awady explained that polymer has a softer surface, which means it is resistant to dirt and dust, and does not transmit viruses. “Polymer’s shelf life is two and half times longer than the regular paper and can be recycled.”

Old EGP10 paper note
Previous EGP10 paper note


As a result, she added that polymer notes’ longevity will reduce the costs of money printing, which is important to achieving sustainable development goals.  


Since the life span of polymer is long and cannot be easily damaged, it is expected that it will reduce the speed of disposal as waste through incineration.


New plastic EGP10 note 


Environmentalist Awady also said that the production process of plastic money is 5 times much easier than the paper and cotton banknotes.  


“Paper and cotton banknotes can degrade, while plastic money can be recycled more than once,” she added.


Some experts highlighted the plastic money’s advantage as hard to be counterfeited.


The new EGP10 and EGP 20 Egyptian plastic notes are printed in the new printing house in the New Administrative Capital (NAC). The EGP10 is issued and available for citizens to use alongwith the old paper ones as well. 


This move goes the line with, not only Egypt’s vision for green transition, but also with the Paris Agreement on climate change, where many countries announced considering the environmental impact of their currencies.



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