Do the plastic notes contain tallow derived from animal fats?

Brett Cooper made this Official Information request to Reserve Bank of New Zealand

The request was partially successful.

From: Brett Cooper

Dear Reserve Bank of New Zealand,

Do the plastic notes we use as money contain tallow (or other substances) derived from animal fats?
And if so, what species of animals are rendered to make this tallow?

I ask this after reading the UK is having this problem.

Yours faithfully,

Brett Cooper

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From: RBNZ Info
Reserve Bank of New Zealand

Dear Mr Cooper

We have received your emailed request, made under the provisions of the Official Information Act (the Act), asking:

“Do the plastic notes we use as money contain tallow (or other substances) derived from animal fats?
And if so, what species of animals are rendered to make this tallow?.”

The polymer used in New Zealand’s banknotes is manufactured by Innovia – the global leader of the banknote polymer industry. Whilst the Reserve Bank receives assurance over the safety and quality of the product, the detailed chemical composition of the polymer remains the intellectual and commercial property of Innovia.
We have made our own enquiries about the polymer used in our banknotes, and Innovia has issued the following statement:

Innovia Films has confirmed the component materials of most films are mainly of petrochemical or mineral origin. During production of these films, Innovia Films does not knowingly add any chemically-unmodified materials directly obtained from animal origin.
In common with many commercially-available plastics materials, our films contain small amounts of additives that act as stabilisers, anti-block, anti-static, slip agents or as other functional processing aids. These comprise less than 1% of the total film weight.
Of the less than 1% of additive material, a trace amount of tallow is used by some of our component resin suppliers. Our polymer resin suppliers incorporate those additives to assist with the production and processing of the resin materials, and to impart the desired technical properties to the extruded films.
Tallow is a substance made from rendered animal fat, and in addition to its use in the petrochemical and plastics industry, it is commonly used a range of industries including the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. It is also present in many everyday items including hair dyes, credit cards, crayons, glue, candles and soap.
This information is based on reasonable supply chain enquiries and our knowledge of the raw materials, film manufacturing processes and product handling & storage operations.

Your second question, ‘what species of animals are rendered to make this tallow?’ is declined under section 18(g) of the Act, because that is not information that we hold and we have no grounds for believing that the information is held by any other Department, Minister, or organisation.

You have the right to seek a review of the Bank’s decision under section 28 of the Official Information Act.

Yours sincerely

Naomi Mitchell

External Communications Adviser | Reserve Bank of New Zealand (Auckland)
205-209 Queen St, Auckland 1010 | P O Box 5240, Auckland 1141
T. +64 9 366 2643 | M. +64 27 294 3900 | F. +64 9 366 0517

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