In India, you would often face a problem using old, worn out or perhaps slightly torn banknotes. Typically, Indians refuse to accept such banknotes, but unfortunately, such banknotes are in wide circulation. Paper banknotes have an estimated lifetime of around 1 year. Given the population of India and the dominance of cash over credit/debit cards and cheques, the lifetime of paper banknotes in India could very well be less than a year. So, the Reserve Bank of India has recently initiated action to extend the lifetime and enhance the security of Indian banknotes by issuing a global tender for the production of 1 billion pieces of Rs. 10 denomination polymer (plastic) banknotes. Well done RBI!
Polymer banknotes were developed by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and The University of Melbourne and are made from the polymer biaxially-oriented polypropylene (BOPP) which enhances both durability (non-porous, more resistant to dirt and liquid and not easily torn) and security (makes counterfeiting much more difficult). In 1996, Australia became the first country with a full set of circulating polymer banknotes in each denomination, from 5 to 100 dollars.
So, with polymer banknotes, you don’t have to worry about washing your trousers with banknotes in your pockets, as doing so will only return your banknotes to mint condition!