Ecological footprint: Euro notes as an environmental sin?

Ecological footprint: Euro notes as an environmental sin?
In 2019, the annual use of euro banknotes by one person was equivalent to driving 8 kilometers by car.

According to a study, the use of euro banknotes has comparatively little impact on the environment. The ecological footprint of one person’s annual use of euro banknotes was equivalent to an 8-kilometer car journey in 2019, according to research published by the European Central Bank (ECB) on Monday.

For comparison: the production of a cotton T-shirt that was washed once a week for a year was equivalent to the environmental impact of a 55-kilometer car journey.

According to the information, the value determined for euro notes represents 0.01 percent of the total environmental impact of the annual consumption of resources caused by a person’s activities in Europe. “Although payments made with euro banknotes have very little overall impact on the environment, the Eurosystem is committed to further reducing this impact,” the study says.

The power supply to ATMs (37 percent) and the transport of banknotes (35 percent) have the greatest impact on the environment. This was followed by processing operations when distributing banknotes (10 percent), paper production (9 percent) and authenticity testing when using banknotes at the checkout (5 percent). The study is based on the European Commission’s method for calculating the environmental footprint of products.

  • Read a comment from Martin Selmayr here: Euro cash: Protected by EU treaties
  • Read here: True and untrue about cash

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