With each passing decade, the general public is becoming increasingly aware of the environmental impact that mankind has had on the world. Thankfully, in line with these worrying environmental changes, it seems more and more is being done to ensure the preservation of the planet in an attempt to reverse the impact we have had on the world around us.
At The Royal Mint, we want to make a difference too and we are hoping to do so by adjusting the way we conduct our day-to-day business. As an organisation that has been around for more than 1,100 years, The Royal Mint is no stranger to moving with the times and now, in a more environmentally conscious world, it is the perfect time for another evolutionary step in the right direction.
One of the most alluring attributes of coins is the fact that they are made to last a lifetime and beyond. Unlike banknotes, coins are inherently sustainable – they are used and reused again and again, they don’t buckle under the stress of the elements and they can last beyond the lifespan of each of their beholders. In fact, The Royal Mint Museum’s collection contains coins that were struck thousands of years ago!
Now, in an effort to limit the impact on the environment around us, The Royal Mint has taken the first step in what we hope will be many eco-friendly processes to come, as we venture outside of our traditional coin-making techniques to bring you a coin made of completely recycled metal – the 100% Recycled Silver Penny.
This coin is a step in the right direction and brings a more eco-friendly approach to our existing and long-established production methods. Comprised entirely of reclaimed silver, this revolutionary new product serves as a reminder of our unwavering commitment to our customers, whilst also illustrating our renewed focus on creating a sustainable tomorrow.
Numismatists with a keen eye will also notice that the uniqueness of the coin goes beyond the materials that make it. In addition to being made from 100% recycled silver, the penny also features a new privy mark in recognition of the coin’s revolutionary construction. The symbol chosen is that of a hexagon – an instantly recognisable shape that has numerous associations with nature – complete with a wind turbine inside it, which further emphasises our drive to be more sustainable as a business.
Although this is the first coin we have produced with 100% recycled metal, this isn’t the first time we have altered our approach in order to reduce our environmental impact. Over the last few years, we have made a conscious effort to contribute towards sustainability, from installing solar panels on-site and electric car charging units in our customer car park at The Royal Mint Experience to installing our giant daffodil-shaped wind turbine Delilah, as referenced on the coin’s privy mark. Meanwhile, we have also modified some of our coins over the years, which ultimately reduced the amount of metals used in our circulating coins. In the 1990s, both 10p and 50p coins were made notably smaller in size, which substantially reduced the amount of materials required to produce them. The 10p went from weighing 11.31g to 6.5g in 1993 and the 50p followed suit in 1997, decreasing in size from 13.5g to 8g, which represents a 42.5% and 40% decrease respectively.
Whilst these changes were chiefly implemented to reduce the weight of coins in people’s pockets, the reduction in size was undoubtedly an effective way to reduce the volume of materials used as well. However, even with these changes, our circulating coins still necessitated the use of raw materials albeit less so. Now, with the innovative composition of the 100% Recycled Silver Penny, this hurdle has been completely eliminated as no new metals were used in the creation of this coin.
As part of our continued commitment to our customers, we believe in making a difference and, in our case, quite literally making change for tomorrow. This 1p coin is the lowest denomination in the United Kingdom’s currency and represents a symbolic starting point of what we hope will become a regular process we can implement across some of our other coin ranges and denominations in the future.
Coins have traditionally been given as gifts for centuries and habitually passed down as heirlooms from one generation to the next. As such, there’s a unique element of romance to coins that is unlike any other property in the world. A single coin could quite literally have passed through the hands of thousands, transcending generations, geography and time like no other, through its untold journey from the press to a palm.
In essence, each coin has its own remarkable story to tell and now, through the recycled element of this environmentally conscious product, that story takes on a whole new meaning again. Whilst the 100% Recycled Silver Penny can also be passed on and gifted from one generation to another, it also encompasses the circle of life within its very composition.
With pre-existing coins a part of the make-up of this new numismatic incarnation, the coins – and, in essence, the stories – of yesteryear live on in the form of this recycled penny. What is old is new once more, remade for you to cherish, pass on and create new memories all over again, safe in the knowledge that The Royal Mint is doing its part to make change for tomorrow, one penny at a time.