Strategic plan on the adoption of the polymer substrate for Philippine banknotes

Project Owner: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas

Date the Program was first implemented


Project Team

Payments and Currency Management Sector

Project Description

The implementation of the Strategic plan on the adoption of the polymer substrate for Philippine banknotes.

Over the years, the BSP continuously looks for ways to improve our banknotes in response to the evolving needs of Filipinos and the availability of modern technologies. The BSP conducted a study on the global trend of the banknote industry, which shows that a number of central banks shifting to polymer banknotes have been increasing over the years. The polymer banknotes gained popularity for its increasing security, durability, cost-effectiveness and has lower environmental impact.

Polymer Banknotes, when deemed unfit, can be effectively recycled, repurposed and can be used for other products such as building components, pumbling fittings, among other things. Further, based on the lifecycle assessment study of various countries, the use of polymer substrates in banknotes were found to be more advantageous than paper substrates in terms of manufacturing, distribution, and end-of life which contributes to lower environmental impact

Countr(ies) where implemented

Various articles and reports show that countries that introduced polymer banknotes into circulation manifested its durability and recylability.

The Australian polymer banknotes lifespan is 4 times longer than their paper banknote and the waste from its manufacturing process is 100% recycled. The materials is recycled and manufactured into a range of innovative and useful products that will last well in excess of 100 years that will become part of their circular economy.

The polymer banknote of the Bank of England is expected to last two-and-a-half times longer than the old paper note which makes them more environmental friendly wherein the Carbon Trust company has certified that the carbon foot print of their polymer banknote is 16% lower than its paper predecessor.

Innovative, unique, and/or inventive aspects of the project

The project aims to improve the Philippine Banknotes durability and strength considering both environmental sustinability and cost effectiveness, while addressing other public concerns such as health and counterfeiting.

Environmental sustainability challenge/problem

One of the concerns which prompted BSP to consider improving the current Philippine banknotes is the increasing demand for cash, wherein as of end 2021, the most preferred payment method of consumers in the Philippines is still cash.

Given this and the increasing scarcity of water, energy, and other resources the Philippine Banknotes should be made to last longer and be fully recyclable.

Level of Expected/Proven impact on Environment

The paper banknotes in the Philippines last about 1.5 years on average, the polymer banknotes can last 2.5 times longer than paper banknotes, BSP would only need to print a third or up to half the number of the paper banknotes. The benefits of using polymer banknotes do not derive from lower GHG emissions from production or disposal of a given banknote. Instead, the expected benefits are due to the greatly extended lifetime of polymer banknotes.
Substantially fewer polymer notes are required to provide the same functionality as a given quantity of paper banknotes.

In the long run, polymer banknotes are more economical and environmetal friendly, leading to lower utilization of water and other resources.

Organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability

The BSP shows its commitment to environmental sustainability with the implementation of the strategic plan on the adoption of the polymer substrate for Philippine banknotes.

As part of sustainability agenda, BSP implements proper management of waste disposal with minimal impact on the environment. To recycle a polymer banknote spoils, these are first shredded into small confetti-like pieces and are passed through a special machine that melts and makes them into pallets, which are then ready to be used as raw materials for recycling into other products.

On top of this, the BSP has adopted the 11-point Sustainable Central Banking strategy, where the central bank advocates green and sustainable policies and practices in the financial system.

In terms of currency management and production, the adoption of the polymer substrate for Philippine banknotes is a testament to BSP’s commitment to a sustainable financial system that will benefit the country as a whole.

Extra information
Extra information


Awards | Currency Awards 2023


Best New Environmental Sustainability Project