Friday, October 10, 2008

Sustainable money


Did you know that 45% of all bills in circulation are $1 bills and their average lifespan is 21 months? (wwww.http://www.moneyfactory.gov/document.cfm/18/2041). I believe these bills are made from a combination of linen, cotton and paper but I couldn't locate this exact information.

Compare that to the Life Cycle of $1 coins that the US Mint are now promoting (http://www.usmint.gov/mint_programs/$1coin/index.cfm). The average life of a coin is closer to 20 years and they are completely recyclable into new coins at the end of their life. This is a good example of closed loop manufacturing system. Not only is this good for the environment, but it is also good for the Treasury which hopes to save millions annually due to the durability and cost advantages of coins.

Like most ecological choices, the best option usually saves money and ecological resources when measured over time. I just picked up my first $25 roll of the coins and plan to begin using them as often as I can.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A couple of things that come to mind:
1) are bills NOT recyclable
2) on coins, what's total (environmental) cost of mining the constituent materials. (remediation, environmental damage, energy and other resources required to extract the materials, etc.)

Brian C. Setzler said...

Thanks for you comments.

I assume the Treasury has done some kind of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) to compare the two items over a significant time period.

While coins do require metal from mining, once they are created, the closed loop manufacturing system should be extremely efficient.

I don't believe bills are recyclable because they are comprised from multiple materials (paper, cotton, linen).

You got me thinking about the energy it requires to carry the additional weight of coins vs paper. Hmmmmm.

This LCA can go on and on.