Could that ripped dollar in your wallet be a tomato someday?

Image: Shredded Cash and handful of fresh vegetablesYou’ve seen them – those wrinkled, written on, torn and taped up bills. The ones no one is excited to get, but accept anyway because whatever, money’s money.

These bills are near the end of their life, and will soon be taken out of circulation. If they end up at The Federal Reserve in New Orleans they’ll be shredded to bits, but their life cycle won’t be over quite yet. Where they’re headed next may surprise you, as it did myself, and have you believing that in some ways, money is more valuable after it’s dead.

Let’s take a look with this short video Great Big Story created!

The New Orleans branch of the Atlanta Federal Reserve wasn’t the first to come up with this project‒Miami started turning money into soil in 2012, but has since moved away from that, and now turns the shreds into an energy source! (link down below)

I love that we have the ability to turn our country’s waste back into something that benefits the people.

“New Orleans was not the first Atlanta Fed office to recycle used money. The Miami Branch cash operation began composting cash shreds in 2012 and diverts nearly 50 tons each month from landfills. The Atlanta Fed’s Miami Branch has since switched to a different recycling process that turns the shreds into an energy source. All told, the Atlanta Fed either recycles or otherwise diverts from landfills 76 percent of its waste.” 2

What’s does your community do?

Image: A beautiful orange and yellow flower

Source: Andy Bloom

Does your own community have a program in place to reduce what is thrown away? Is there a focus on making fresh produce easily accessible?

If you’re in Greater Boston, and there isn’t a lot of room for composting, for a small fee you can have Boot Strap Compost drop off a bucket that you put all of your food scraps in. Every week or two they come by, take it away, and replace it with a clean one. After 4 months, you’ll be receiving 5 pounds of compost for your own use!

Composting can provide a sense of well being, knowing that we aren’t affecting the world quite as negatively, but instead, doing what we can to reuse what we take from her. It’s an amazing way for people to come together and begin focusing on what came from the Earth, what should go back, and how we can work with it to get what we need.

Who knows, maybe after the community has great soil to use, a garden will sprout up in a public area for everyone to benefit from!

If you allow yourself to be open to new possibilities, happiness will stay nearby.


Looking for more inspiration today?

Clicking on any of the articles down below can give you a dose of energy, the knowledge that this world still has passionate people who care about making it a better place for every being that joins us, whether it’s through art, understanding or action. Take a look!

If you can’t decide on one, we have a nifty little “Surprise Me!” button in our sidebar that’ll bring you to an article that may have never been in your peripherals.


  1. “Where Dollars Die (and Are Reborn).” YouTube. Great Big Story, 20 June 2016. Web. 23 May 2017. <>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.