When on holiday in Canada a couple of years ago I was very impressed by the plastic banknotes which are very hard to wear out. I now see that a Scottish bank is introducing plastic £5 notes. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-27517606 .
It would be a good idea if the Bank of England also introduced plastic notes. It surely must save money in the long run as notes would last much longer.
If I remember correctly, the Canadian notes had different smells for different values, helping those with poor sight to distinguish between note values.