Federal Reserve Cash departments work to 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, offices are committed to using alternatives to landfills for shred disposal.
Cash recycling activities may vary by office because of differences in the amount of shredded currency generated and local options for disposing of and repurposing the residue. In the 12th District, Cash Services work with companies that use shredded currency for eco-friendly power generation and other materials.
Los Angeles—green power
The Los Angeles Cash operation represents special challenges and triumphs. On one hand, the facility generates nearly 500 tons of shredded currency annually. On the other hand, we have dedicated employees who have spearheaded green initiatives that have received attention around the country.
The Los Angeles office partners with a green-friendly 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. 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.
Salt Lake City—it’s all in the mix
Currency shreds from the Salt Lake City office are recycled by a local company and used to cure cement. In addition, 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.
Seattle has a robust recycling program. Similar to Salt Lake City, currency shreds are recycled by a local company and used to cure cement. 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, and they work with another vendor to recycle used light bulbs.
Phoenix—making a difference
The Phoenix Cash Processing Center sends its shred to a recycler that turns it into compost material. The Phoenix office also recycles a variety of other materials, including plastic bags, cardboard, and office paper. They participate in a battery recycling program similar to the Seattle office where employees can bring in depleted batteries for recycling.
To obtain shredded currency
Shredded currency 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, contact your local Federal Reserve District.
Where Dollars Die (and Are Reborn) – video by CNN digital affiliate Great Big Story (June 2016)