Brits are basically throwing £100m away every year in spare change

New pennies come off the production line at the Royal Mint. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Brits throw away or lose about £100m worth of copper coins every year, a survey has found.

In a survey of 2,000 Brits, one in seven (14%) told personal finance comparison website Finder they throw an average of 51p a month in the bin every month.

When applied to 14% of the overall population – 7.2 million people – this amounts to £44m per year.

On top of this, a fifth (22%) admitted to losing an average of 41p a month each – a total of £56m, or £4.92 for each person who loses change.

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The most common ways of using coppers is to save them in a “piggy bank”, with 54% of Brits doing so, and giving them to charities, with 51% doing so, the survey found.

On average, these Brits drop 69p worth of coppers in charity buckets each month, which amounts to over £220m a year, overall.

Many Brits still treat these coppers like other coins and use them to pay for goods and services. Almost half (47%) do this by giving them directly to the cashier, while nearly two in five (38%) use them at self-service machines.

And giving cash tips directly to restaurant staff still appears to be a common practise, with a third of Brits (33%) doing this at restaurants and cafes each month, while 15% said they spend their 1p and 2p coins in arcade machines.

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The younger generations seem to value their coppers less, with generation Z – born after 1996 – being the most likely to lose them (46%) or bin them (24%).

These percentages decrease progressively with age. Only 4% of people belonging to the Silent generation – born between 1928 and 1945 – admit to throwing away or losing their coppers.

The study found men are more careless with their coppers than women. One in four regularly lose them, compared with 18% of women, while and almost one in six (16%) throw them away, compared with 11% of women.

Conversely, women are more likely to use their coppers productively. Over half (54%) of women donate their spare change, compared with 47% of men, while two in five (40%) pay for goods at self-service machines with coppers, compared with 36% of men.

READ MORE: The best thing to do with your penny jar

Regionally, Londoners are most likely to throw their change in the bin with a fifth saying they do so.

Residents from the North East are most likely to have a large stash of coppers in their piggy banks, with 64% saying they save their coppers in this way.

Those from the North West are the most careless with their coins, with a quarter (27%) saying they lose their change.

The government recently pledged to keep 1p and 2p coins in circulation, despite declining levels of cash usage in the UK.