The small things in life are usually the most easily forgotten. Hong Kong's nickel-brass cent-denominated coins cannot be easily used, so often end up in jars or bottles at home. There are limited places to spend them, banks charge to convert large amounts to notes and Octopus cards have replaced the need to use small change, so there is every reason to hoard and forget. It seems the time has come to follow the lead of other governments and consign them to history. Buses, trams and convenience stores are among the few places that accept 10, 20 and 50 cent coins. Many shops and market stall-holders sell goods in whole dollars, finding small change inconvenient and even a nuisance. The face value of the two smallest coins is less than the cost of making them. Mindful of that and well aware of the hoarding, the Monetary Authority has embarked on a two-year programme to get that which has disappeared back into circulation. Hundreds of kilograms of coins have already been collected by the two trucks involved in the operation. The amounts being handed over in exchange for banknotes or added Octopus card value have surprised the contractor, which had expected at most small tins would be involved. Instead, people have been bringing in hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars, in loose change. That our economy has got by for so long without them in circulation says much about how much they were missed. Australia, Denmark, New Zealand and Norway have phased out their lowest-value coins. Canada last year joined Britain and Israel in removing its smallest unit of currency and pressure is building in the EU for the one and two eurocent coins to go the same way. The hundreds of thousands of coins being handed back are about getting rid of loose change and converting it into something more spendable. A government consultation would readily determine just how strongly we feel about them in an era where there is increasingly less need to carry physical cash. The question is simple enough: do we want to keep them in circulation, or are they a waste of time and money?