The Critical Importance of Proper Banknote Destruction



While often occurring behind closed doors, banknote destruction represents an important part of the global economy. For example, were you aware that the United States destroys approximately $1.6 billion dollars worth of notes every year?

What are the reasons why banknotes are destroyed on a regular basis? What does the process involve? What solutions are offered by the team at Hunkeler Systeme AG? Let’s examine these and other relevant questions.

When is Professional Banknote Destruction Warranted?

There are several reasons why banknotes should be destroyed. The most common involves older notes that have become unfit. Most paper notes have a lifespan of approximately five years before they are removed from circulation. However, there are other circumstances that could lead to physical elimination. These include the following:

  • When a significant number of bills are counterfeited.
  • When changes (such as new security features) are implemented in a new printing cycle.
  • At times when older notes are no longer considered legal tender.

So, how are banknotes physically destroyed?

What Does Banknote Destruction Actually Involve?

Banknote Destruction

Although some notes were burned in the past, times have certainly changed. The majority of banknotes are now mechanically shredded. This is one of the reasons why our line of in-house shredders has become so popular. There are many reasons why this type of destruction is preferred.

Recycling plays a crucial role. The old paper that was once legal tender can be transformed into a host of other products. Examples include environmentally friendly packaging, compost bins and even office paper products. Polymer-based notes can likewise be recirculated and used to create a host of plastic-based items.

From a general perspective, banknotes will first be granulated down to a specific dimension. The most common size of shredded materials is 6×6 millimetres (though this can sometimes vary). Once the notes are destroyed, they can be formed into briquettes or instead stored as a loose mass.

What Solutions are offered by Hunkeler Systeme?

Hunkeler Systeme Solution

Our disposal logistics experts have spent a lot of time developing state-of-the-art shredding solutions. Once again, these are engineered according to the needs of the customers. Let’s examine three potential options at your disposal.

The HBP 100

This device is primarily used to invalidate notes that have been removed from circulation. Punching a series of holes within the paper will mark the banknotes as invalid. The HBP 100 is capable of punching holes in bundles up to a thickness of 10 millimeters.

Such a process is often used when the banknotes will be transported to a separate location for further disposal. One common example is when notes are sent to a central bank. As the banknotes are no longer valid, the security dispositive during the transport can be reduced  dramatically.

The Granulator HCDS

Granulator HCDS

There may also be times when shredded banknotes need to fulfill higher security standards with regard to the size of the shreds. This is when the versatility of our HCDS Granulator comes into play. The HCDS will granulate the shreds so that they are essentially reduced to small granulate. This post-shredding stage may represent the first stage of a more in-depth and secure recycling process.



As previously mentioned, there are instances when shredded banknotes will be compacted into briquettes. This type of compaction simplifies the disposal process and reduces the costs for transportation. These briquettes are also suitable for several recycling applications.

Our briquetting presses for banknotes have throughput capacities up to 1,500 kilograms per hour. Briquetting presses are especially suitable for large systems with the need for a higher level of automation.

Security, Efficiency and Reliability

Banknote destruction is a global industry. Still, some solutions are more robust and flexible when compared to others. This is why Hunkeler Systeme developed cutting-edge solutions for modern requirements.

Whether used within smaller facilities or intended to tackle large-scale disposal projects, our solutions aim to fully satisfy clients. However, please note that our shredders and briquetting presses are only two of the many available options. Other possibilities include the following:

  • Conveyors
  • Compact suction units
  • Weighing machinery
  • Presses and balers
  • Conveyors and sorting systems

Are you curious to learn more about the process of banknote destruction? Do you have a question in regard to a specific machine? If so, please do not hesitate to contact our specialists for further information.