The Bank of England admitted that the new five pound notes contain animal fat, sparking something of an outrage among vociferous vegans and vegetarians on social media.
According to a Bank of England reply to a tweet on 28th November, 2016 the new plastic fivers are made with a trace of tallow; a substance derived from boiled carcasses of animals and used in the making of many candles and soaps. The main components in rendered animal fats can also be found in thousands of other everyday products, including lipstick, plastic bags, cycle tyres, crayons, and latex condoms.
Hi @Jools_Orca there is a trace of tallow in the polymer pallets used in the base substrate of the polymer £5 notes
— Bank of England (@bankofengland) November 28, 2016
The Royal Mint released the polymer note, featuring a portrait of Winston Churchill, on 13th September, 2016. While serial number AA01 000001 was given to The Queen, some of the other early serial numbers have already been offered online for hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds. Other eBay auctions have closed with less than the face value being paid.
Designed to be cleaner, safer, stronger and flexible the new £5 polymer note is the first of the Bank of England’s currency notes not to be printed on paper. For all their flexibility, the new fivers do bend and it is advisable not to fold them, says Bank of England governor Mark Carney, as it could damage the plastic.
There was also an uproar when Sir Winston Churchill was chosen to be featured on the rear (replacing 19th-century welfare reformer Elizabeth Fry, one of only two women to appear on British currency not including the Queen of England) which just goes to show that you can’t please everyone.
I actually like the note and the printed Winston quote: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’.
This might not be the image you want as a print or on a t-shirt, but it could look great as a cushion (throw pillow).
Polymer tenners are scheduled to be introduced in 2017, featuring Jane Austen (with the quote: ‘I declare after all there is no enjoyment like reading’); and plastic twenties could be in circulation by 2020.