A lot of media attention has focused on the new British plastic £5 banknote containing animal fats. The use of animal fats is controversial for environmentalists, vegans, and vegetarians.
The proposed new plastic £20 note will contain palm oil. While being more vegan friendly, the implications of the use of palm oil are the processes to obtain this oil devastates forests, leaving many animals without their natural habitats in which they reside. They say they are going to be producing the new plastic £20 notes using sustainable palm oil, but the jury, as ever, is out.
But what purpose do those oils and fats serve? The answer, phthalate plasticisers. Phthalates soften plastic, making it malleable. Without phthalates, plastic would be harder and brittle. What is interesting is that the British polymer banknote manufacturer took a safe approach, animal-derived and palm oil additives are only in trace amounts. They used a safe phthalate, not something harsh like DEHP, DINP, DIDP etc.
The Bank of England has estimated that the anticipated volume of £20 banknotes would require by-products from 25-30 cattle. If you would like to find out more information regarding the use of palm oil and animal derivatives in UK banknotes, The Bank of England has produced an informative brochure.
For our environmentally conscious readers, it is also worth highlighting:
- The new £5 banknote lasts 2.5% longer than their paper predecessors
- Polymer banknotes have a 16% lower carbon footprint and can be recycled
- Polymer banknotes are also three times more hygienic
Tenura takes a strict approach to plasticisers; we believe that objects which are handled regularly should not contain them. Unlike other companies that offer PVC materials laden with phthalates (DEHP, DINP, etc), Tenura takes a different approach. Heavily plasticised PVC materials were developed in the 1960s and viewed as the future product; cheap to produce, easy to mould and possess an initial level of tack.
From the 1980s onwards, research soon highlighted high-level health risks, so much so that a PVC phthalate ban is in place for use in hot food containers, children’s toys, and objects that are likely to enter a child’s mouth, for instance, a milk bottle. The EU, the US Federal Government, and especially the states of California and Oregon have progressively legislated against the use of phthalates. When we created the Tenura range of daily living aids, non-slip bottle & jar openers, non-slip placemats, and cup holders, we wanted to use modern, safe, environmentally-friendly materials. Silicone is a green material that produces products with similar qualities without the use of any phthalates.
For more information, you can contact Tenura by phone or by filling out the contact us form on the website.