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Big bucks in those coin jars

By JUDY STARK

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 30, 2001


If you've got a coffee can or a jar around the house accumulating pocket change, take a close look. Those coins add up.

Coinstar, the company that makes those counting machines you see in supermarkets, offers these estimates of what that spare change may be worth. A half-gallon container full of coins weighs about 17 pounds. Based on an average mix of coins (78 percent pennies, 22 percent silver), that container has a value of $80.48, Coinstar says.

An estimated 73 percent of adults save their change rather than spend it the next day, Coinstar recently told the New York Times. The company says America's private stashes total nearly $8-billion, most of them in the $30-to-$50 range.

A California customer cashed in coins worth more than $8,100, and a couple in New York found they had accumulated more than $3,000 in change in a five-gallon water jug.

Coinstar offers this information as we enter the peak summer moving season. The family coin jar, it says, is "another often ignored source of extra cash" (which you'll need when moving) "and added weight" (which you'll want to get rid of before you move).

Coinstar points this out not only to help you cash in on uncounted change. Those machines withhold an 8.9 percent processing fee for doing what you could do yourself: sort and count your change.

When people complain about the steep fee, the New York Times reported, chief operating officer Rich Stillman responds: "If you value your time at more than $1 or $2 an hour, taking your coins to Coinstar is a huge bargain." The company estimates that it takes at least an hour to wrap $50 in coins manually compared with two or three minutes using its refrigerator-sized machines that count 10 coins a second.

What's in our future?

Concerned about clean air, drinkable water and healthy food supplies? So are lots of people. Here are the Top 10 Healthy Home Trends for 2010, predicted by Battelle, a Columbus, Ohio-based leader in technology and product development, based on its own tea-leaf reading of the future. It's safe to bet these are among the projects the company is working on. (Battelle helped create the officer copier, the compact disc and fiber optics for communications.)

Indoor air quality. Watch for advanced air venting and filtration and biosensors that fight humidity and mold.

Home-based medical monitoring, diagnosis and care. Battelle anticipates people will want to monitor their blood pressure, cholesterol, blood pressure and other functions at home and will want to self-medicate via the Internet and wireless communications.

Home security monitoring. These devices will allow homeowners to check for broken pipes, irons left on, open windows; keep an eye on kids or elderly parents; use biosensors to detect harmful bacteria and viruses.

Absolutely reliable, high-quality power. Home generators, microturbines, engines powered by natural gas, fuel cells and microcombined heating and power, which generates heat and electricity, will grow in appeal as alarmed consumers watch the shortages in California.

Whole-house water quality. The company predicts that water-safety systems will be developed to provide the best water for all home uses.

Healthy and safe foods. Battelle predicts that consumers, confronted with 200 kinds of salad dressing in the supermarket aisles, will rebel against "choice overload" and will turn back to traditional, tasty, high-quality foods that can be prepared quickly. They'll want tools that detect bacteria in food and water, such as a wand you can wave over a countertop or cutting board to detect bacteria from uncooked meats.

The fight against aging. Baby boomers have created a market for healthy home products and services: home gyms, tooth-whitening systems, anti-aging skin creams, maybe even do-it-yourself at-home plastic surgery.

Mite wars. Dust mites and mold are allergy sensors, so researchers are seeking ways to use light in the mite fight and to battle mold by reducing humidity.

Simpler housekeeping. It's the boomers again, demanding what stay-at-home mothers have been seeking for years: a single cleanser for all surfaces, one appliance to clean all fabrics.

Germ-resistant materials, coatingsand fabrics: The coatings that keep stains off your carpet could be used to keep bacteria and viruses off your countertop. Disinfectant treatments and materials could be built into such surfaces.

Welcome to Pasco

Ten residential developments are welcoming visitors in Neighborhoods on Parade, sponsored by the Pasco Building Association, which continues through July 1.

Typically, parades of homes focus on builders and their models. This event "shows off the communities' amenities, what items they have to offer as communities rather than as builders," executive officer Nita Beckwith said.

The event puts a spotlight on parks, playgrounds, swim clubs, sports facilities, jogging trails, landscaping and conservation areas.

Participating developments are Heritage Springs, Lake Jovita, Longleaf, Meadow Pointe, Saddle Ridge Estates, Kings Lake, the Preserve at Fairway Oaks, Plantation Palms, Key Vista, Valencia Gardens, the Groves, Woodland Oaks, Summertree and Quail Woods. Information: Pasco Builders Association, (727) 375-8922.

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