Press Release

For immediate release

Brits waste £100 million per year losing or throwing away spare change

  • 1 in 7 Brits (14%) throw their spare change in the bin, sending an average of 51p to the landfill each month.
  • Half of us (51%) choose to donate coppers to charity buckets, totalling over £220 million per year.
  • Young people are most likely to lose (46%) or bin (24%) their 1p and 2p coins.

30 July 2019, LONDON –

Brits throw away or lose more than £100 million worth of coppers each year, according to new research by personal finance comparison website

1 in 7 of us (14%), or 7.2 million Brits, are throwing an average of 51p in the bin every month. When totalled together, this equates to £44 million per year.

More than a fifth of Brits (22%) also admit to losing an average of 41p a month each, meaning we are losing £56 million down the back of the sofa each year, and £4.92 each for those who lose change.

The most common ways of using coppers are saving them in a “piggy bank” (54%) and giving them to charities (51%). On average, these Brits drop 69p worth of coppers in charity buckets each month, which translates into over £220 million per year overall.

Many Brits still treat these coppers like other coins and use them to pay for goods and services. Almost half of us (47%) do this by giving them directly to the cashier, while nearly 2 in 5 (38%) employ them at self-service machines.

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

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 1928-1945) admit to throwing away or losing their coppers.

Men are more careless than women with their coppers: one in four (25%) regularly lose them (against 18% of women) and almost one in six (16%) throw them away (against only 11% of women).

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

Regionally, Londoners are most likely to throw their change in the bin with a fifth (20%) 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 27% saying they lose their change.

To see the full list of ways in which we use our 1p and 2p coins, including gender, age and regional breakdown, visit:

Speaking about the findings, Jon Ostler, CEO at said: “Coppers are generally playing a less significant role in our lives than they used to, but our research shows that there is still value in looking after them when they end up in your wallet. It may not seem like much on an individual level, but £100 million is a huge amount that Brits could save, spend or give to charity each year.

If you are annoyed by change maybe it’s time to go digital and convert to contactless payments, what’s even better is that some digital banking cards like Monzo and Revolut even offer a “round up your change” feature that helps you automatically squirrel money away to a savings fund.

Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that while they may not mean much in isolation, coppers can be valuable to charities. If you don’t know what to do with them, donating them is always preferable to throwing them in the bin. Some personal finance apps like Revolut will round up your spare change and donate them to charities for you.”



  • commissioned Onepoll to carry out a nationally representative survey of adults aged 18+.
  • A total of 2,000 people were questioned throughout Great Britain, with representative quotas for gender, age and region.


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