June 13, 2024

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Find out where out of print banknotes go

Find out where out of print banknotes go

Who has never picked up a banknote that is stained, cut, or even torn? Money produced from cellulose has an expiration date, and one day, it must go to the “garbage”. The role of the central bank is to introduce new fiat currencies into the market and remove those that no longer serve them.

First, the banknotes are manufactured at Casa da Moeda, and then they are issued by the central bank to Banco do Brasil, which is contracted to distribute the money among other banks. In the branches, ballots are drawn and distributed to people until they are completely eroded.

Which banknotes are out of circulation?

According to the Basel Convention, banknotes that are stained, soiled, mutilated, worn or chipped can be withdrawn from circulation; Marks, scribbles, symbols or graphics. Banknotes that have cuts or tears on their edges or on the inside cannot be circulated; Burned or damaged by liquids, chemical agents and explosives.

Are all damaged banknotes disposed of?

Banknotes that are worn out by use still have value and can be circulated normally. What happens is that when they get to the bank, they don’t come back to the public. This analysis of banknotes that may (or may not) be circulated again is also done in the central bank, in an automated manner in the machines.

Where do discarded banknotes go?

BC states that, currently, 92% of all non-circulating banknotes are recycled. The raw materials of paper currency fibers are used as energy input in kilns to manufacture cement, through co-processing.

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This recycling business takes place in Curitiba, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Salvador, Recife and Belem. Only in Fortaleza, the remains of banknotes are still disposed of in sanitary landfills.

What does the banknote recycling process look like?

Banknotes deemed unsuitable for circulation are cut and pressed into brick-shaped sizes to facilitate storage and transportation. Next, the central bank contracts to remove the banknotes from its facilities and prepare for use as an energy input.


Recycling banknotes, in accordance with the Basel Convention, helps reduce the use of non-renewable natural resources and the emission of carbon dioxide, as well as aiding in the disposal of waste in sanitary landfills.

Despite this, the central bank states that it is studying new ways to increase the useful life of banknotes and alternatives to reuse, as part of a sustainable logistics management plan.