Think hard: when was the last time you actually used a penny and did not leave it on a table or put it into a tip jar? Yet the government continues to mint the penny and release them into circulation. The penny should be put into retirement and erased from accepted forms of currency.
A lobbying group called Americans for Common Cents, which represents the company, Jarden Zinc, that makes the zinc and copper blanks, is fighting to keep the penny in circulation. Polls that they conducted concluded that more than two-thirds of the U.S. adult population wish to keep the penny. According to Americans for Common Cents, “Consumers benefit with a low denomination coin, with the penny helping keep high prices in check for millions of America’s hardworking families.”
Although people may argue that the penny is worth keeping, it is not. One of the many reasons to get rid of the penny is that they are bad for the environment. It is a common misconception that pennies are made of copper. The truth is that pennys only contain a small amount of copper, 2.5 percent to be exact. The remaining material used to create the penny is zinc. While mining for zinc, toxic metals such as cadmium and lead get in the way. The result is a dangerous work environment for people and contaminated water, soil, and plants in the area surrounding the mine.
The penny costs the government money to mint. The process of putting new pennies into circulation actually costs more than the penny is worth. This might not seem like an issue to most Americans until they consider the fact that the money they are spending to mint these pennies is coming out of the taxpayer’s/your wallet. According to Mike Unser of Coin News, “The toll to produce, administer and distribute the one-cent coin was 1.82 cents in FY 2017.”
Using pennies is a huge waste of time. When paying for a good or service with cash, people often choose to use pennies that they have in order to not get as many coins in change back, or to pay in the exact amount. This task of scavenging through one’s purse or wallet takes an unnecessary amount of time and can be annoying for others waiting to pay. “I hate having to wait for someone to rummage through their purse just to find a few pennies in change,” junior Anne Clampitt said.
Instead of getting rid of the penny, which would cause too many arguments, the government needs to just stop minting new pennies. The remaining pennies left in circulation could go around until they are all used up and, eventually, the penny would be no more.