Living on Earth's Jennifer Chu reports on an effort in Germany to recycle the country's old Deutsche marks, as the new year ushers in a new currency.
TOOMEY: Coming up, how activists scuttle plans for a major biological prospecting project in Chiapas, Mexico. First, this Environmental Business Note from Jennifer Chu.
CHU: It's 2002 and that means it's in with the new and out with the old. And, in Europe, it's in with the euro and out with the francs, the deutsche mark, the guilder and the lira. Twelve member states of the European Union are circulating the new euro dollars and coins, lots of coins. What to do with all those old Austrian shillings, Irish pounds and Spanish pesetas being traded in is still up in the air. The German government expects up to 130,000 tons of old coins to be returned in Germany alone, and it's selling them to the German firm Norddeutsche Affinerie, Europe's largest copper producer. Norddeutsche Affinerie recently started recycling Germany's old deutsche mark, using the copper to mint the distinctive outer band of the new euro coins. The company is also bidding on similar coin recycling contracts in the 11 other participating European nations. Right now, Sweden, Denmark and Great Britain are holding on to their current currencies. When the transition is over the total number of coins expected to be returned in Europe will top 100 billion. That's this week's Business Note, I'm Jennifer Chu.
TOOMEY: And you're listening to Living on Earth.
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