ECB assesses environmental footprint of cash, sees room for improvement

The European Central Bank (ECB) has taken a look at the environmental impact of using banknotes. It discovered 16 environmental impact categories. As with cryptocurrency, energy efficiency was a major issue.

Banknotes continue to be the most common form of payment at points of sale in the eurozone. The use of cash requires an elaborate physical infrastructure for its production, distribution and eventual retirement.

Some of the initial components of banknote production that have environmental impact. Source: ECB 

Energy use by ATMs was the biggest contributor to banknotes’ environmental footprint at 37%, followed by transportation (35%). The remainder was down to processing, paper…

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