New Guardian Polymer Banknote Recycling Centre Launched In Mexico

A new specialised recycling centre in Zacapu, in the Mexican state of Michoacán, is giving old polymer banknotes a new lease of life as the raw material for a range of recycled products.

The centre is owned by Innovia, who along with CCL Secure are part of CCL Industries. CCL Secure are global leaders in polymer banknotes, and is the latest addition to the company’s Global Recycling Programme.

Polymer banknotes already have a much longer working life than paper alternatives. They add to their environmental credentials by being recyclable when they are eventually withdrawn from circulation.

The new plant will be recycling Guardian polymer banknotes at the end of their useful life. Guardian is already used in more than 160 denominations around the world.

The Zacapu plant transforms old polymer banknotes into polypropylene pellets, which will find their way into a wide range of new plastic products, including garden furniture and building materials.

As well as delivering a much reduced risk of counterfeiting, significantly longer life in circulation, a cleaner surface that’s less likely to harbour bacteria, polymer banknotes are also more environmentally sustainable than paper alternatives.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies by the Bank of Canada, Bank of England and Banco de Mexico all looked at the environmental impact of both polymer and paper banknotes throughout the cash cycle, from initial production to final disposal.

“The ability to recycle polymer banknotes is only one of the ways in which polymer is more environmentally friendly than paper,” says Dr. Tim Berridge, Director of R&D, Marketing and Design with CCL Secure. The production of raw materials, the environmental cost of distributing banknotes, and durability all contribute to make polymer more attractive than paper.”

In August, 2020, in a further move that reinforces the reputation for sustainability of polymer banknotes, CCL Industries became an official partner of the Global Commitment to the New Plastics Economy, led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Geoffrey T. Martin, President and CEO of CCL Industries Inc. said: “This is a milestone on our journey towards making the company a sustainability leader in our industry with responsible supply chain operations and innovative products for customers and consumers globally.”


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