What Does the Government Do with Old Money?

You’d probably like to have the government send it to you, naturally! But the Treasury Department has other ideas. Every day, it collects worn and dirty bills, 4-5 tons of them! Which are too old and worn to be used.

These bills are destroyed in a machine called a macerator, which shreds $1,000,000 a minute into tiny confetti-sized pieces of paper.

Not all damaged money is worthless. If, for example, you have a bill with part of it torn away, you can redeem it.

If you have at least 3/5 of the bill, you can send it to the Treasury Department and get a fresh, new bill of the same value. If you have more than 2/5 of the bill but less than 3/5, you can redeem it for half the value of the bill.

The composition of the paper on which our money is printed is one of the government’s most highly guarded secrets!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

2 thoughts on “What Does the Government Do with Old Money?”

  1. I think it’d be better if people can exchange their torn bills to new ones, instead of shredding those into bits. It is such a waste, especially now that everybody is almost desperate for money.

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