KATHMANDU, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Banknotes out of circulation in Nepal are still benefiting the citizens, now as a heating material for the past months.
Nepal Rastra Bank, the country's central bank, has been converting the old and worn-out banknotes into briquettes used for heating since August last year, instead of just burning them.
"The notes which used to become ashes following burning have now become a source of earnings for us," Revati Prasad Nepal, chief of the currency management department at the bank, told Xinhua.
The central bank purchased eight machines from the Netherlands last year for the establishment of a banknote shredding and briquetting system at its headquarters and six of the seven provincial offices. It started producing briquettes in limited quantities in August last year.
"We have been producing around 1,500 kg of briquettes a day from different offices," said Nepal. "We're also selling them in limited quantities currently as a pilot project. We're searching for bulk buyers of the briquettes."
The central bank is employing the staff engaged in burning the banknotes to handle the furnaces under the new system.
According to Nepal, the new system has been in operation for two hours a day. "We normally produce the briquettes five days a week, from Sunday to Thursday," he added.
Nepal believes the banknote shredding and briquetting system is helpful in controlling pollution, a constant concern among the public. ■