On 8th November 2016, the country was shaken to its core with one simple announcement. The ₹500 and ₹1000 notes were declared invalid and would be replaced by new ₹500 and ₹2000 notes. With one announcement PM Modi created a complete cash crisis in India and caused the common man more headache than he already had.
However, according to The Indian Express, the discarded banknotes will now play a crucial role in the South African general election of 2019. A deal was struck between RBI and Western India Plywood (WIP), a Kerela based company to determine the fate of the banknotes. TM Bawa, the general manager of WIP said,Image Source “Shortly after demonetisation was announced, the Reserve Bank based in Thiruvananthapuram approached us. They didn’t how to dispose of the notes. If burnt, it would cause massive environmental damage since the notes are made of special currency paper. We asked them to send us samples. Then our Research & Development wing found a method by which we can use the notes.”
WIP received shredded notes in the form of briquettes from the RBI. Those were then cooked at a high temperature and put into a defibrator which is a refiner which grounds pulp material using stream. This pulp is mixed with wood pulp and used as hardboards. Explaining the process Bava also added,Image Source
“There is a lot of export to bulk buyers in South Africa where it is used as placards in the election campaign.”
They regularly export to the Middle East and other parts of Africa as well.
Bava even says that the hardboards made with currency pulp is sturdier and has a distinct appearance. He says that it is a “high-grade pulp”. He even says that domestic retail dealers sell it as a “premium product” at higher prices saying that “it is made from notes”.Image Source
Well, we’re happy that the notes are being recycled and are not causing environmental degradation. Also, they are at least useful to some people if not in our wallets!