Manufactured by CCL Secure, Polymer, is already used in the new £5, but indicates a departure from the use of cotton for over 320 years.
The new notes are waterproof, more durable, and harder to tear. The plastic £10 notes are also harder to counterfeit than the paper ones, with various unique security features including a clear window, multicoloured holograms, and UV ink.
For the first time in British currency, the notes also feature Braille-like bumps, created to allow those with visual impairments to identify the notes from the other notes.
“With the tactile feature, that’s given an extra element of accessibility. First of all, we were trying to understand, is it possible to have a feature that is easy to recognise, and will last well,” Victoria Cleland, the bank’s chief cashier said before the release of the notes.
“The move to polymer has given us the ability to have a tactile feature that will last a lot longer.”
The new £10, like the £5 before it, is about 15% smaller than the paper note, something that has numerous advantages according to Cleland.
“In terms of the environment and production costs, smaller notes help, and you can fit more in cages, and they’re easier to store,” she said.
“Technology has developed so much that we can get a lot more onto the smaller note [in terms of security and accessibility features.”