Recycling Shredded Cash to Reduce the Fed’s Environmental Impact

Recycling shredded cash

When U.S. currency notes are too soiled or damaged for recirculation, the Federal Reserve shreds the notes to remove them from circulation. To avoid sending the shredded currency to landfills, the Fed has a recycling initiative focused on alternative disposal methods.

In 2015, the Federal Reserve’s 28 Cash Services locations worked with companies nationwide to recycle shredded U.S. currency—with the equivalent weight of nearly nine fully loaded 747 airplanes—into new materials, including compost and biofuel for energy production.

Cash recycling activities vary by each cash processing facility because of differences in the amount of shredded currency generated and local options for disposing of and repurposing it. In the 12th District, we recycled 740 tons of shredded currency in 2015. The San Francisco and Los Angeles Banks partner with green facilities where the shred is burned in eco-friendly power-generation plants to provide electricity for local businesses and homes.

This is one of the Fed’s ongoing environmental initiatives to reduce our impact on the Earth.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the management of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco or of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.