Getting Rid Of The Penny Because Of Its Negative Effects

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Whether or not you believe picking up a penny will bring you luck, one thing it definitely won’t bring you is wealth. In fact, the penny is so worthless, many people want to do away with them for good. The penny is detrimental in many ways as they waste time, cost taxpayers money, and harm the environment.

When one pays with cash at a store the total amount doesn’t usually end in a multiple of five or ten. To get the right amount pennies must be used either as payment or money back. This change counting holds up lines while the right amount is counted. A transaction with pennies takes around two seconds. According to the federal reserve the average consumer ‘makes 23 cash transactions a month’ and there are ‘316 million consumers in the country’. Add it all up, that’s 48 million hours every year spent on these transactions.

Usually, currencies are profitable, but the process of minting pennies costs more than the face value. Minting one penny costs 1.7 cents and in 2014, ‘minting pennies cost 55 million dollars’ (Money Crashers) – money coming straight out of taxpayer’s pockets. Many advocates of keeping the penny argue that nickels cost more than face value as well; however, nickels circulate for years making the money well spent. The penny’s circulation remains rather limited, however, compared to the nickel as many people just throw them away. This then forces the mint to produce more costing taxpayers. Not only do pennies cost money, but they also have environmental costs.

Pennies don’t come from heaven as Bing Crosby says; they come from zinc mines dug into the earth. These mines destroy ecosystems when being dug and constructed and leave the land scarred. Zinc is also a toxic metal which can contaminate the soil around the mine and kill plants and animals. Once the pennies have been smelted and minted, they have to be transported to banks by trucks which put carbon dioxide in the air. In a study done by the University of California, students found that ‘trucks carrying pennies put 1.5 million tons of carbon dioxide in the air’. To put that in perspective, the US puts 5.9 billion tons annually making penny transportation almost one percent of the total carbon pollution.

As the reasons above show, the penny is wasting our time, costing us money, and damaging our planet. Here’s my solution – let’s flip for it. Heads we stop minting pennies; tails we continue. 

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