Hungarians burning old currency notes to stay warm

Talk about using money wisely and for the right cause. Hungary’s central bank has taken this old phrase a little too seriously. To stay warm during this cold wave, the bank is pulping piles of old notes into briquettes to help heat humanitarian organizations. These briquettes have high calorific value and one only needs to add a few pieces of wood to make a room warm. The briquettes can be used in boilers that use mixed fuel. The notes are cut into pieces of 1 to 5 millimeters, after which the paper is compressed without the use of any chemicals. What is more, it takes about 5 million forints ($22,360) to make a single one-kilogram briquette!

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Initially the notes were just burnt but then the centre decided to compress them into briquettes for better heating efficiency. The bank that would destroy approximately 40 or 50 tons of currency every year thought it would be better to use the currency for a good cause.

The bank chooses institutions every year on only one criterion, that they do not have any public debt. A centre for autistic children in the impoverished northeastern town of Miskolc that treats adults as well and an institution dealing with handicapped children in the south-eastern town of Veszto have been chosen to receive briquettes this year.

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