Should The Penny Stay in Circulation?


via Pixabay

A pile of pennies

The penny is the smallest and most worthless piece of currency in the American monetary system. The penny was first created in 1793, and its size was very large. More than 50 years later,  the penny was switched to a smaller version, and in April of 2021, the U.S. mint stated that they will be discontinuing the penny starting in 2022. Now, should this change happen? 

One reason that the penny should be discontinued is that the penny is virtually worthless, and most people don’t even use the penny for payment. Nowadays, coins are hardly used – when they are used, it is usually for vending machines or parking meters. However, most vending machines and parking meters don’t even accept pennies, furthering the uselessness of the penny. Former U.S. Mint Director Philip Diehl said, “The value of a penny has shrunk to the point that, if you earn more than the minimum wage, you’re losing money stopping and picking up a penny on the sidewalk.” Time is money. When someone picks up a penny, they lose some of their time which is then translated into losing money. According to research, about 2% of Americans regularly just throw their pennies into trash cans. This means that nearly two-thirds of pennies are never seen in circulation after the pennies are distributed.

Secondly, another reason that the penny should be discontinued is that the U.S. government is losing money every time they make a new penny. To make a singular penny, it costs about 1.82 dollars worth of material. Aaron Klein, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy at the Treasury Department, said that the United States would be losing about 1.78 billion dollars in making pennies. This means that for every penny made, almost a whole cent is lost.

Pennies also have lots of environmental issues. To create a penny, copper and zinc are used. The mining of copper and zinc creates lots of carbon dioxide emissions, pollution, and lots of energy is used. It has also been recorded that from the mining of materials to make pennies alone, about 107 million pounds of carbon dioxide were produced. 

In conclusion, the penny should be discontinued from the American monetary system because it is hardly ever used and is worthless to anyone, the government is losing billions in making pennies, and the penny is causing damage to the planet we live in and the existence of pennies do more damage than good.