21 December 2021
Ross MacDiarmid, Executive Director of the Mint Directors Conference (MDC) has highlighted the need for mints to produce coins sustainably whilst also questioning whether crypto-currency is really better for the environment.
Writing in the Mint Industry Communique newsletter, MacDiarmid said:
“As the ‘traditional’ cash/coins industry comes under greater scrutiny, when one considers the competitive environment in which the Mint industry is now operating, there are a number of questions that should be asked and analysed about the products supplied by the ‘alternative’ suppliers… For example, how much total energy from cradle to grave is used to conduct a cashless retail transaction – including production of the technology and the devices, the amount of computer power required, security etc…
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How long do cards last, how frequently will you buy a new device and how are they disposed of? Are these devices recyclable and if so how and at what cost? If not, where do they go? As a reminder - coins typically last 25 years and are generally recycled either into new coins or other products."
MacDiarmid goes on to point out that a recent report, entitled ‘Cash: A Roadmap to Sustainability’, suggests cash does not have the high environmental cost some perceive.
“We recognise that cashless alternatives are a significant part of the transaction process and will continue to be so,” he continues. “However the Mint industry is arguing that if there is to be a cost benefit comparison of cash versus cashless, particularly in the context of environmental sustainability, then that analysis must include the cradle to grave impact of both options.”
The opinion piece and special report also highlights the innovative ways in which many mints have reduced their traditional energy consumption and environmental footprints, including The Royal Mint, The Royal Australian Mint, and the Royal Dutch Mint.