Vegan approach to England’s five-pound note

new British five-pound note contains animal fatThe new British five-pound note, proudly praised as a revolution when introduced by the Bank of England, will be more hygienic,  stable, durable and environmentally-friendly, but contains animal fat. This is the first time a special plastic is used for printing instead of paper. The polymer banknote can even be washed and does not need to be replaced often.

While these innovative notes immediately became coveted collectors’ items, the other side of the coin, which is the vegan side, soon triggered hefty protests. After all, a polymer granulate is used as a basic material in the manufacture of these banknotes and this polymer granulate contains traces of tallow which is in turn incurred as a by-product in the slaughter of cows and sheep. However this debate is considered, the use of such additives in the manufacture of plastics can in fact make sense in order to improve the material properties and support the manufacturing process, for example.

Additives such as variants of stearic acid salts, a long-chain (C18) fatty acid, are extracted from melted beef fat (tallow). These generally account for 100 to 200 ppm of a typical polyethylene. Added to the raw materials formula, these act as lubricants which prevents adhesion to metal surfaces during the extrusion or injection-moulding process.

Some stearates are also required for cleaning and neutralising acids formed during polymerisation. As external lubricants, it can be applied directly to the injection-moulding machine or extruder. According to ACTEGA coatings and sealants, there is a growing demand for Animal-Derived Components (ADC)-free plastics.

ACTEGA said the ADC-free solution makes sense. It further outlined the increasing demand for kosher and vegan plastics which must to be taken into account. Vegan, kosher, ADC-free plastics are in demand in a growing number of areas. Actega DS offers suitable solutions in the form of high-quality TPE plastic compounds for medical technology, pharmaceuticals, personal care, consumer and household goods that dispense with components of animal origin.


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