• Myles Shin

Today I Learned... That the Penny is Inefficient

Pennies have been minted for over two centuries in the United States. 216 years to be exact. It is something we see everyday in our daily life but carries little to no significance. To most, pennies are worthless and a waste of time to hold onto. In fact, over 8% of all pennies are found sitting in trash cans. Americans throw away over 40 million dollars worth in the trash every year. It is clear that many citizens do not value the penny.

In 2013, Canada got rid of their penny. Many argue that it is now our turn to get rid of the penny. In 2017, there was a legislation that would get rid of the penny and the nickel, but it was not passed. Why shouldn't we get rid of the penny? It costs more to produce than its value. It costs 1.83 cents to make, but is only worth 1 cent. This includes the nickel. It costs 6.6 cents to make compared to its 5 cent value. From minting the penny and the nickel, the United States lost a total of 90 million dollars. With transactions going largely digital or through debit/credit, the need for coins, especially ones that carry little value like the penny, it doesn't make sense to keep manufacturing them at the same rate. The United States should slowly lower its production of the penny until eventually it is out of circulation. There is no point of continuing to make something that should be obsolete already.


Zagorsky, Jay. “Should We Get Rid of the Penny?” Jay Zagorskys Research Blog,