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New ingredient in new car smell?


I had a telephone call this morning from a reader in Monticello, Iowa. He was a Ford vehicle owner. As such, he received a copy of the Fall 2012 issue of Ford Magazine.

Being a collector, his attention was immediately drawn to an article on Page 7 that was so short it hardly qualified as anything more than a fun fact. But in his mind, what a fact it is. So he called me.

It would seem that Ford engineers in the course of their work might have found a new use for shredded paper money. Shredding is the current method used by the Federal Reserve System to dispose of paper money that is so worn or damaged that it cannot be reissued to the banking system.

There are a lot of old notes that need to be disposed of, something on the order of 3.6 million pounds each year. There are 454 notes per pound, according to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s website, meaning over 1.6 billion notes are destroyed each year and end up in landfills.

 Standard Catalog of United States Paper Money

The only annual guide that provides complete coverage of U.S. Currency with today’s market prices and presented in full color.

Sure there are those fun souvenir bags of shredded currency that catch your eye at numismatic gift shops, but we all know that however many of these souvenirs are made, the shredded paper money they consume is just a tiny fraction of the shredded money supply available. I mean how many of these little bags do you need? I only need one and I obtained mine so many years ago in Memphis, Tenn., that I no longer remember when. Perhaps we all can start collecting plastic bags of shredded money by variety. That would increase demand.

No? Well, then, thank goodness for the reported work of Ford engineers who have found that the paper, which is actually 75 percent cotton and 25 percent linen, can be used to reinforce plastic used in interior automobile trim and in coin trays.

Recycling old greenbacks into another useful life in an automobile looks like another way of being environmentally friendly, which everybody says nowadays is being green. Perhaps other car manufacturers will be green with envy and copy the idea.

Certainly the quantity of shredded notes can only increase over time. The debate over future inflation aside, next year with the likely introduction to circulation of the long-delayed $100 Federal Reserve Note, there will be many of the older designs to shred and recycle on an accelerated basis.

Who would ever have imagined that your future new Ford’s interior could be covered in recycled $100 bills?

So I tip my hat to the reader in Iowa who set this topic before me. I am pleased to be thought of by readers when they run across some interesting information.

Go right ahead and send me these little tidbits. I’ll take phone calls. I’ll take newspaper clippings. I’ll take emails. See the box in the lower left-hand corner of this page for the most useful contact information.

I appreciate the opportunity to see the world as you are seeing it and I will share what I can with other readers.

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