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The Bank of England rejects palm oil as replacement for animal fats in plastic banknotes

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The Bank of England has rejected the introduction of palm oil as a replacement for the use of animal fats in future production runs of polymer bank notes, citing environmental concerns and excessive costs.

Earlier this year, the central bank faced a backlash when it emerged that it was using tallow, a rendered form of beef or mutton fat, in its new plastic £5 note, which went into circulation in September.

In February, the BofE decided against ditching the use of tallow for the £5 note and the new polymer £10 note, which will launch in September. However, it promised to investigate alternatives for the new £20 note and future reprints of the £5 and £10.

In rejecting palm oil, the BofE, cited value for money, as well as the widespread use of animal-derived additives in everyday products, including alternative payment methods.

“The use of palm oil raises questions about environmental sustainability and the Bank’s suppliers have been unable to commit to sourcing the highest level of sustainable palm oil at this time,” says the Bank. “Value for money was also a consideration in the Bank’s decision. The estimated extra cost of switching has increased since the consultation and is now estimated to be around £16.5 million over the next ten years.”