Since many commuters opt to buy new transit cards -- despite having a little bit of cash remaining on their current card -- three students at NYU's Interactive Communications Program have created a project called MetroChange to save and donate all of this unused value to charity.
The MetroChange project asks New York City commuters to donate what's left on their unwanted MetroCards. According to the NYU students behind the MetroChange project, thrown-out MetroCards can add up to $52 million annually in unused value! They have created this hi-tech kiosk, which tells you the value you have on your card and gives you the option to donate the balance as well as recycle the card.
The MetroChange project is still in its beginning stages, however. And as the students' blog points out, simply donating what's left on a card doesn't make the value "real" money. One of the options they are exploring is finding partners to match the amount donated.