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Posts Tagged ‘currency’

When dollar bills of any denomination get too beat up to use, the federal government shreds them. For a long time, the various Federal Reserve banks gave out small bags of shredded money to visitors as a souvenir — always a big hit with kids.

But for the last few years, shredded money has been used as compost in gardens. Here’s a story from Seth Archer at Business Insider about the new approach.

“Have you ever wondered what happened to currency that gets damaged? If you have a paper shredder in your home, you already have a pretty good idea. But that’s just the start….

“The New Orleans branch of the Federal Reserve shreds $6 million in cash each day. They mainly shred bills that are dirty, taped, graffitied or otherwise unfit to be used as cash.

“The bills are shredded to a fine texture to make compost. … The cash is transferred to a compost facility, where it is mixed with other materials to make nutritious plant food.

“After the compost is made, it is sold to local farmers, who use it to grow peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

” ‘It is very fulfilling to be growing using a material that would otherwise go to waste.’ — Simond Menasche, founder and director of Grown On.”

More here.

Photo: Great Big Story

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bitcoin-machine-at-South-StationA friend is doing research on bitcoin and other virtual currencies.

Although it sounds like phoney money to me, I still honor the lesson I got in fourth grade about how a dollar represents trust. You trust when you receive it that it will be accepted by someone else in exchange for something you want. You trust the entity that backs it. Today people are using virtual currencies like real money, so trust is working so far.

But does it all remind you of the company that used to accept your money and promise to do your worrying for you? Or how about virtual gift giving, which enjoyed a flurry of attention in the media a while back. (The gift company will e-mail your friend that you “bought” a virtual gift. The concept is based on the premise that it’s the thought that counts. VirtualGifts4U.com, for one, just asks you to support its sponsors.)

I took this picture at Boston’s South Station, where, during specified hours, a friendly young man will explain how you can buy bitcoins at this machine. I haven’t chatted with him, so I don’t know if he also explains that the value of your bitcoins can not only go up in an hour or two but go way down.

There is no significance to the fact that the machine is located right next to an endlessly running “If you see something, say something” security video.

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A new $100 bill is in the works. For security, it will have half a million tiny lenses in a special strip, and the lenses will create a particular optical effect as you tip the bill this way and that.  Kind of like a hologram, is my understanding. There will be even more tiny lenses on the Liberty Bell and the numeral 100, and as you tip the bill, the one will turn into the other, thanks to the lenses.

This rather surprising information I learned from a speaker today — Doug Crane, vice president of the family company that has been making America’s currency and some other nations’ currencies since 1801. He makes paper only from cotton (80%) and linen (20%).

There are a lot of interesting old documents about the history of Crane & Co. — and how it overlapped with key events and players in American history — at this blog on WordPress.

More information is on the regular website of the company, which is based in Dalton, Massachusetts, and employs 850 people locally. Among them are the people who make print so tiny you could “print the Bible twice on a dime.” They also employ optical engineers who create the micro lenses and are responsible for Crane’s 80 patents.

Other employees work in Tumba, Sweden, ever since Sweden asked Crane to take over its currency making. At the Tumba site, Crane makes currencies for additional countries.

A paper-making enterprise requires a lot of energy, so Crane is working with numerous alternatives as it moves toward its goal of 100% sustainability. It has   already drastically cut its oil use in a partnership with a steam-producing landfill enterprise. Hydroelectric is proving trickier because there are so many jurisdictions on the Housatonic River to give permission to remove waterfalls.

Perhaps the river could become a Blueway and get everyone working together. (See yesterday’s post.)

Postcard from cranesbond.com

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