U.S. Mint Pushing Consumers to Embrace Dollar Coins

by Leanne Gregg

NBC News

A new government push is on from the U.S. mint to get consumers to embrace dollar coins.

This form of currency is part of an effort to protect the environment and save the government money.

"A dollar coin lasts 30 to 40 years," said U.S. Mint's Greg Hernandez.

That's compared to paper bills that wear out after only a couple of years.

And, there's another advantage with coins.

"They're 100% recyclable. So when their service life is finished, we just melt them down and turn them back into new coins," said Hernandez.

That, he says, saves the nation billions of dollars.

So the U.S. Mint has launched a pilot program in four cities to promote the Presidential dollar coin.

Retailers are helping promote the coins.

Outside the door of a Charlotte Business, there is an information booth and a government truck that dispenses the new dollars.

"I got eight grand kids.  They'll get coins.  They collect them," said Charlotte resident Fred Peterson.

It's hoped consumers will also spend the coins, unlike in the past, with the Sacagawea dollar that never quite caught on.

The Presidential series began last year with George Washington.

Four different coins will be introduced each year depicting the presidents in the order they served.

It's an alternative to the greenback, with an environmental value that goes beyond dollars and cents.