Philadelphia Literally Burns Cash for Electricity

(Photo: Ervins Strauhmanis)

What's keeping the juice flowing to your Xbox? If you live in Philadelphia, then it may be paper money burned at power plants--literally. When the Federal Reserve office in that city takes banknotes out of circulation, it burns whatever it can't recycle. The Wall Street Journal has an article on the subject that is behind a paywall. Matt Novak of Gizmodo summarizes it:

The Federal Reserve has made tremendous progress with their recycling program in recent years. In 2009 just 30 percent of discarded paper currency in the U.S. was recycled. Today roughly 94 percent is recycled. That's about 4,900 tons worth of money per year.

"Rather than just sitting in a landfill, it's producing electricity for residents in the Delaware Valley, here in our district," an official at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia proudly told the Wall Street Journal.

The United States isn't the only nation to engage in this practice. The Bank of England and the People's Bank of China also burn money for electricity and heat.

The Bank of England building in Threadneedle Street used to be heated by burning old notes. Don't know if it still is - probably not what with clean air rules.
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