However at least one power plant in China is now – literally – burning money to generate electricity.
According to the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, the power plant in Luoyang, central Henan Province, is burning old and damaged banknotes instead of coal.
The plant says one tonne of old notes can generate more than 600 kWh of electricity, and is better for the environment than burning coal.
The country’s central bank, the People’s Bank of China, has given permission for the notes to be burned, and says it’s an efficient way to make electricity.
With the province’s unused paper money, the company “can help generate 1.32 million kWh of electricity annually, which is equal to burning 4,000 tonnes of coal”, a member of staff at the bank told Xinhua.
A little nearer to home, it might be possible to use old Royal Bank of Scotland share certificates instead…