from Wealth Cycles:
Canada completed the conversion of its banknotes from cotton-based paper to polymer, or plastic, bills at the end of 2013, just about the time Bank of England announced it would join Canada and another 20-some nations by switching to plastic currency. Since plastic bills cost nearly twice that of paper bills, the question is why countries would make the change now, especially with a growing push by banks to convert consumers to digital payment systems. The pat answer is to combat counterfeiting, which had already begun to drop in Canada before the new polymer bills were introduced. Advanced new sensors that can be embedded in plastic film may offer a hint of the true potential for plastic-based currency.
Canada rolled out its first plastic bills in 2011, beginning with 100s and 50s. It wrapped up the conversion with new plastic $5s and $10s that began circulating late last year. Bank of England announced in December is plan to go to plastic notes, beginning in 2016 with a ₤5 note bearing the images of Queen Elizabeth and Sir Winston Churchill. Australia has the longest history with plastic banknotes, beginning in 1996, according to The Telegraph. So far the United States has announced no plans to convert from paper bills to plastic.
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