New figures have shown that almost £13 billion worth of bank notes were destroyed by the Bank of England in 2009.
This is an 11 percent increase over the previous years figure, and the increasingly worn £5 is being attributed to the rise. The state of the £5 note is now becoming a cause for concern for the Bank of England. On average, £10 and £20 notes last around four years, but the £5 note now seems to be lasting only one year before it needs to be destroyed.
The Bank of England has previously tried to get more £5 pound notes into circulation, and thus reducing the wear, but has faced opposition from the high street banks themselves, as lower notes would mean filling their cash machines more regularly, which would cost more time and money.
As a note becomes old, worn, and less usable, the notes are taken out of circulation and replaced with brand new ones. The withdrawn notes are then swiftly destroyed, as the danger of them falling into criminal hands is evident. The money is taken to a secret location, with half of the amount turned into compost and the other half incinerated.