Reclaiming Coins: There’s money in the junk – literally!

The world is filled with little known industries, many of which are very interesting, and some of which are surprisingly large.  One of these is the coin reclamation industry.  At first glance it may seem far-fetched, coins are currency, and thus they should not need to be ‘reclaimed’. But the truth is, millions of dollars of U.S. coins alone, are tossed hither and yon every year.  Some of these are willfully discarded, think about giving a child a few coins to toss in a wishing well, but many are simply lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life.  They are lost in the seats, glove boxes and ashtrays of cars and trucks, they are wedged in washing machine and dryer components, they fall into the mechanisms of vending machines, and they are left in the pockets of discarded clothing.

These coins become part of the stream of material that make up the global recycling industry and ultimately find their way to organizations whose business involves the separation of items into their component materials for efficient recycling.  A significant part of this global business is now done in China, which has combined a need for raw materials with a hardworking and relatively low cost labor force.  Within the huge Chinese recycling industry, is a small but profitable niche of coin reclamation firms, that buy the coins found by the larger recycling companies, and then ship them home for redemption.

The next time you are walking past a convenience store and see pennies and other coins in the parking lot that no one has bothered to pick-up, think about how many coins those same people have inadvertently thrown away.  At a global level, the number will astound you.

Photos/Video of Scrap Reclamation Process – Coin Recovery

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Data on US-China Scrap Industry

In its complaints against Wealthy Max and other coin redeemers, the US government has claimed that it is not possible that the volume of coins redeemed by these companies could have come from China’s recycling industry and …read more…