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US recyclers can no longer redeem coins found in scrap

The US government has decided to suspend the nation-wide used coin redemption programme. A bad move, according to the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI).

This isn’t the first time the US Mint has scrapped the dedicated coin scheme. ‘After a three-year moratorium, the collection initiative was reinstated at the end of 2017,’ says ISRI president Robin Wiener. In fact, she laments the organisation was very closely involved in re-launching the scheme.  

‘It is a major disappointment the Mint has once again suspended the programme that is worth millions of dollars to the recycling industry,’ Wiener comments. And she adds: ‘ISRI, on behalf of its members, is working to identify any issues the Mint may have with the programme and will once again offer solutions to get it reinstated as soon as possible.’

Recycling facilities across the United States have been recovering coins from scrap for decades, ISRI says. Most of the coins come from loose change left in end-of-life vehicles or vending machines. The institute argues that recycling technology has advanced the ability to recover used coins in ‘significant quantities’ over the last couple of years. The coins were stockpiled and sent to the US Mint. This practice has become an ‘integral part’ of many recycling companies’ operations.

Some months ago, the US Mint had announced it would be updating the special collection scheme. Changes were meant to include the establishment of procedures for certifying participants based on submission amounts and frequency as well as sampling submissions to authenticate material. Also, there were plans to start conducting site visits for certain participants.

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