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Now furniture from currency notes!
Sunil Raj Jain in Mumbai
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November 22, 2005 10:17 IST

Money may not be growing on trees, but it certainly can be used as a substitute for wood. An Indore-based company is set to use soiled notes for making furniture and doors.

After many failed attempts to recycle waste currency notes into eco-friendly material, Rajratan Technique and Technology has finally cracked it. It has succeeded in recycling waste currency notes into eco-friendly sheets.

These sheets, like plywood, can be used to make doors and furniture. The company says it can do this before the end of this financial year. The eco-friendly sheets, 32 sq ft in size, will be waterproof.

So far, soiled notes have been used to make trays, coasters and paper weights. These were done by a manufacturer in Mumbai. The Reserve Bank of India [Get Quote] has also had some successful experiments with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute on the use of soiled notes.

But so far, no manufacturer has evinced commercial interest in such projects, which is why the RBI has been making bricks out of soiled notes for land-filling.

Rajratan, which has carried out research and development for this unique scheme, is planning to recycle currency waste all over the country.

Its executives say there is no need to take additional permission since the scheme falls under solid waste management. Scientists of the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board at Indore also maintain that permission for recycling of waste currency notes is not required as they are not hazardous.

Once soiled notes reach the RBI, they are put through a currency verification processing system. The central bank sets a "tolerance level" in the machine to decide on notes to be reissued. The ones failing the test are sent to the shredding and briquetting machines for producing currency bricks.

The annual capacity of the RBI's presses is 18 billion notes and they can print up to 28 billion pieces if they work in two shifts. The pace of replacement of old currency has been slow leading to the deteriorating quality of notes.

The capacity to print notes increased after 1999. But the capacity to process and destroy notes has not kept pace with the print capacity.

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