Environmental Initiatives

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Federal Reserve Cash Services is committed to its environmental initiatives, and we are continually looking for new and innovative ways to reduce our impact on the environment. This includes how we recycle everything from office paper to shredded currency, which is the residue left over when worn or damaged currency is destroyed.

With more than 5,000 tons of damaged currency shredded by Federal Reserve Banks each year, every office is committed to implementing alternatives to landfills.

Cash recycling activities vary by office because of differences in the amount of shredded currency generated and local options for disposing of and repurposing the residue.

In 2012, Cash offices nationwide recycled nearly 82 percent of the shred using several alternatives to landfills. In 2013, the Federal Reserve committed to increasing its recycling of shredded notes from cash processing centers in all 12 Districts. 

In the 12th District, Federal Reserve Cash Services partnered with companies who have repurposed the shredded currency as roofing tiles, particle board, fuel pellets, stationery, packing material, and artwork. Each district office has been active in finding new solutions. In fact, there’s a Green Team in each office of the 12th District.

Phoenix—the home insulation solution

Shredded currency from the Phoenix Cash Processing Center is recycled into a home insulation product manufactured with sustainable and renewable cellulose for environmentally-aware homeowners, builders, retailers, and architects. This combination of shred and cellulose is a good alternative to using fiberglass, and is easily “blown in” to walls and attic spaces. We make the shredded currency available for free, saving the Cash office the expense of disposal and keeping the shredded currency out of landfills.

Salt Lake City—it’s all in the mix

The plastic bags and rubber bands used in the packaging of bundled currency are recycled by a local vendor and manufactured into plastic and rubber products. Currency straps are shredded by a vendor and used again in various paper products. Even general office paper is shredded and recycled into new paper products.

Los Angeles—green power

The Los Angeles Cash operation represents special challenges and triumphs. On one hand, the facility generates 489 tons of shredded currency annually. On the other hand, we have dedicated employees who have spearheaded green initiatives that are getting attention around the country. 

The Los Angeles office partners with a green-friendly facility where contaminated currency is burned in an eco-friendly power-generation plant that serves local businesses and homes. Since the beginning of operation, the facility has reduced reliance on fossil fuels and kept the shred out of landfills. Amazingly, this facility generates enough electricity annually for 15,000 to 20,000 homes, which saves the equivalent of more than 95,000 barrels of oil.

San Francisco—green power

The San Francisco Cash operation also partners with a green facility where shredded currency is burned in an eco-friendly power-generation plant that serves local businesses and homes. Since the beginning of operation, the facility has reduced reliance on fossil fuels and kept the shred out of landfills.

Seattle—working together

Seattle has a robust recycling program. In coordination with the City of Renton, all recyclable material is sent to a central site where it is sorted and sent to recycling companies for use. Cash Services diverts over 29 tons of trash from the landfills on an annual basis. The branch also participates in a battery recycling program where employees can bring in their depleted batteries from home for recycling.

To obtain shredded currency

Currency Residue Requirements can be found on the FAQ Library section of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. These guidelines provide answers to questions regarding the use and purchase of the residue.

Shredded currency residue can be obtained from certain Federal Reserve Banks. Occasionally, they make the residue available on a contractual basis and may charge processing fees to individuals under certain conditions and limitations. For address and contact information, visit the Twelve Federal Reserve Districts