Should We Ban the Penny to Help the Environment?

photo big penny made from small pennies usa

A big penny made from actual pennies. Photo by Rachel Kramer

So a friend posted a picture on Facebook of a Northern California bike shop that's banning the penny. No more Lincolns. Sales will be rounded down to the nearest nickel, in favor of the customer. It's billed as a way to help protect the environment, the economy, and our sanity.Who supports this? Who can think of a reason not to?

According to Mike's Bikes, the penny banners, single-cent coins don't make "cents" for reasons including:

  • Making pennies wastes natural resources and is toxic to people and the environment, from the zinc that's used;
  • Making pennies wastes taxpayer money, because they cost about 1.7 cents to make;
  • Pennies waste time and money, because the average American wastes an estimated 12 hours a year handling pennies.
What do you think? Should we save the penny? Eliminate it? Donate all the remaining pennies to a good cause first? Put in your two cents (maybe we'll have to think of another saying).

One last thing: While it may seem that banning the penny is a no-brainer, this movement has been going on for years. And the government keeps making pennies. Here's a Forbes story from 2002.

(h/t to Timmmii)

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