It's impossible to live a modern existence without plastic. It's everywhere (including our oceans.) It's in our clothes, packaging, furniture, bedding, and even our food and medicine. Next year Canadians can add their money to that list; the Canadian government announced today that it would be replacing cotton $10 and $20 bills with plasticized versions in 2011.
The new bills are expected to last three times as long as the all-cotton bills and won't absorb oils and sweat from our hands. Australia, Mexico, and 21 other countries have already made the switch — the Mexican 20 peso note is made up entirely of polymer fibers, others are a blend of plastic and natural fibers. Thailand experimented with a plastic note but dropped it after Thais complained about the bills colorfastness and tactile handling.
This seems to be a good application for plastic — it's displacing cotton, a terrifically resource-intensive crop to grow, and is nearly assured to be kept out of the litter stream because, well, it's money. No one throws money away, at least in the classical sense. When plastic bills get too old to be of use they are taken out circulation and (hopefully) recycled.
What do you think? How would you feel if we made the switch to plastic-infused money?
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