The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed plans to commence recycling of mutilated naira notes by partnering with private firms in the country.

The apex bank disclosed that although it destroys about 100 tonnes of bad naira notes weekly through open-air burning at the 12 disposal centres stationed across the country.

The regulator attributed the initiative to the negative effects of open-air burning in the environment as it can be detrimental to health. It is also against the industry’s Sustainable Banking Principles.

The CBN made this announcement in a notice titled, ‘Request for Proposal for the Recycling of Paper Banknote Wastes.’

The notice read in part: “The destruction of unfit banknotes in Nigeria is carried out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) under strict security and environmentally sustainable manner. Section 18(d) of the CBN Act 2007 authorised the bank to arrange for the destruction of currency notes and coins withdrawn from circulation under the provision of section 20(3) of the said Act or otherwise found by the Bank to be unfit for use.

“The banknotes disposal operation is presently carried out in 12 disposal centres across the country weekly where about 100 tonnes of paper banknote wastes are generated. These wastes are destroyed through open-air burning in sites owned by the bank or rented, usually from the respective State Governments.

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“Paper banknote wastes disposal by open-air burning impacts negatively on the environment thereby causing pollution and health hazards. The Central Bank of Nigeria in pursuance of its sustainability initiatives has reviewed the current method of banknote wastes disposal through open-air burning with the aim of adopting a more environmentally sustainable method thereby reducing its carbon footprint.”

If this option is explored by the CBN, it would help in converting banknotes waste into useful products. This would lead to environmental sustainability and in turn enhance the nation’s economic activities.

The apex bank said it was seeking proposals from accredited recycling companies interested in utilizing paper banknote wastes in its recycling process.

“The purpose of this Request for Proposal (RFP) is to solicit competitive proposals from reputable companies that can recycle CBN paper banknote wastes into useable products that can be beneficial to the nation while adhering to Health Safety and Environment (HSE) standards.”