Waste Management Discovers Americans Throw Away Up to $68 Million in Coins Annually

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In Morrisville, Pennsylvania, at a waste management facility, discarded coins take a surprising journey from trash to treasure. Americans are accustomed to the new convenience of digital transactions and have unknowingly parted with millions in loose change each year. As sustainable waste processing companies like Reworld begin a modern-day treasure hunt, the discarded coins find a new life, contributing to a multimillion-dollar haul. 

What Is the Coin-Scavenging Process?

At waste-management facilities like the one in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, discarded coins are meticulously scavenged to be collected properly. Workers sift through incinerated trash, carefully separating metals and other valuables from the refuse. 

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“It’s like searching for buried treasure every day,” remarks Dominic Rossi, Reworld’s director of finance and business support. “You never know what you might find.” 

What Is the Astonishing Scale of Coin Waste?

Shockingly, the citizens of the U.S. discard an estimated $68 million worth of coins annually, according to Reworld’s calculations. 

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“It’s mind-boggling to think about how much money slips through our fingers without us even realizing it,” says Robert Whaples, an economics professor at Wake Forest University. This staggering figure of millions underscores the widespread disregard for physical currency in today’s digital age. 

The Decline of Physical Currency

With time, the rise of digital transactions has rendered coins obsolete for many Americans. With an increase in the usage of credit and debit cards and mobile payment options, carrying coins or ‘loose change’ has become more of a hassle than a convenience. 

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A former Dollar Store cashier, Cassandra Raposo, comments, “Gone are the days when you needed coins for everything. Nowadays, people prefer the swipe of a card over the jingle of coins in their pockets.” 

What Is the Economics of Coin Circulation?

Despite their diminished utility, coins are known to be produced at a significant cost worldwide. 

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The U.S. Mint spent as much as $707 million just on coin production last year alone, which caused many voices to rise demanding the stop of issuing low-value coins. “It’s a case of spending more to make less,” asserts Whaples, advocating for the phasing out of coins that cost more to produce than their face value. 

Advocating for the End of the Penny

Many economists and policymakers in the U.S. have long debated whether coins and pennies should be eliminated, as they cost approximately three times their value to produce. 

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Moreover, Countries like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia have already phased out their one-cent coins, citing cost-effectiveness and practicality. “It’s time for the U.S. to follow suit and bid farewell to the penny,” argues Whaples. “It’s time has come and gone.” 

Where Are These Coins Found?

It is reported that coins often find themselves in unlikely locations, from couch cushions to car interiors. “People underestimate the value of loose change,” remarks Rossi. “But those coins add up, especially when talking about millions of travelers.” 

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Even at airport checkpoints, the Transportation Security Administration can collect hundreds of thousands of coins annually from passengers’ pockets and bags.

How Did Reworld Begin Its Coin Collection?

Reworld’s foray into coin collection began in 2017 when employees noticed increasing change amidst the trash they processed. 

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“It was a lightbulb moment for us,” recalls Dominic Rossi. “We realized that amidst the waste, there was hidden wealth waiting to be uncovered.” They were quick to recognize the potential value in discarded coins, and the company decided to embark on a mission to recover and repurpose these overlooked treasures. 

The Coin-Recovery Process Unveiled

The process of recovering all of the coins in Reworld involves a series of sophisticated sorting machines that separate metals from other waste materials. 

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After incinerating, trash is sifted through, and committed employees meticulously clean and sort coins. “It’s a meticulous process, but it’s incredibly rewarding,” says the facility’s operations supervisor, Angelo Geraci. “Every coin we recover represents a small victory in our mission to reclaim lost value.” 

Separating Coins from Clutter

The machines that sort out coins from trash at Reworld are one of a kind. They use advanced technology to identify and extract coins from the debris. 

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Whether it’s separating the coins by color, shape, or weight, these machines ensure that no valuable metal goes unnoticed. Rossi jokes, “Our machines are like modern-day alchemists. They turn trash into treasure with remarkable efficiency.” 

Recovering Usable Coins Amidst the Ruins

Despite the challenges posed by incinerated trash, Reworld’s dedicated team perseveres to recover usable coins. After passing them through three advanced machines, the workers start sorting through the coins, too. 

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While some coins may be damaged beyond recognition, many are salvaged in good enough condition for reuse. “It’s a testament to our team’s dedication and resourcefulness,” notes Rossi. “We don’t give up easily, even when the odds seem stacked against us.” 

What Are the Financial Implications of Coin Collection?

While coin collection may seem like a profitable endeavor, it comes with its own set of challenges and costs. “It’s not just about the money,” explains Geraci. “There’s a sense of pride in knowing that we’re making a difference, no matter how small.” 

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Initially investing in these sorts of machinery that do nearly a fourth percent of the work of the labor-intensive process of coin recovery, Reworld must carefully balance the financial implications of its operation. 

Coin Annoyances in Everyday Life

After the introduction of credit cards and digital transactions, dealing with loose change at checkout counters is a common annoyance for many people. 

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Cashiers often count out several coins for customers making small purchases, leading to frustration and delays for others in the line. 

The Evolution of Coin Redemption

Traditional methods of coin redemption, such as visiting banks, have become less accessible in recent years. 

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Many banks have removed coin-counting machines due to low customer demand, leaving individuals with limited options for converting their loose change into usable currency. 

What Is the Future of Coins?

While some coins are used as currency for others, those artifacts are valuable and worth keeping. From cutting coins down to use as decorative elements in home projects to searching for rare or old coins, the population displays creative ways to value the history of coinage. 

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With society leaning more towards digital payments and cashless transactions, the future of coins is desolate. Reworld and similar firms must keep pace with the population’s behavior changes and technological developments to survive in the coin recovery business.

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Sally Reed

Written by Sally Reed

Sally, a dynamic and viral writer, has taken the literary world by storm with her exceptional storytelling prowess. With an uncanny ability to tap into the collective consciousness of her readers, she crafts narratives that resonate deeply and linger long after the last word is read.

Born with a creative spirit, Sally honed her writing skills from a young age, cultivating a unique voice that blends emotion, wit, and social insight. Her work spans a wide spectrum, from poignant short stories that tug at the heartstrings to thought-provoking essays that challenge conventional thinking.

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