Sterling silver jewellery is an incredible metal for jewellery making. It is affordable, looks amazing and lasts a long time. However, there are some drawbacks to our insatiable appetite for silver jewellery, and that is the cost to the environment and human rights.
Excess silver mining is unsustainable for the environment and causes pollution, deforestation and erosion. Many mines do not ethically source their silver and exploit workers in underdeveloped countries.
Thankfully there is a solution - recycled silver! Recycled silver retains the same quality as newly mined silver, without all of the disadvantages. In this post, we explore what recycled silver is and the 7 key benefits of buying jewellery made from recycled silver.
First, let’s take a look at the downsides of silver mining
Mining silver damages the environment: It contributes to soil erosion, water pollution and the destruction of natural habitats
Mining silver using a lot of resources: The process of silver mining requires a vast amount of water, energy and chemical, also leading to environmental damage
Mining for silver can be dangerous: It exposes workers to toxic chemicals and dangerous working conditions, especially if it is not done ethically
Silver is not a renewable resource: Silver is finite and the more we mine it the more scarce it becomes. Once we mine all of the silver there will be none left. Over-mining of silver will therefore drive up the cost and lead to potential conflicts over who controls this resource
Worker exploitation: In some places where silver is mined, workers are exploited by being underpaid and exposed to dangerous working conditions. This is especially true in developing countries. Do you know where your silver comes from?
Mining silver can have negative social and economic impacts on local communities. When profits from silver mines are retained by large corporations and don’t trickle down to locals it can perpetuate cycles of poverty
What is recycled silver jewellery?
Recycled silver is silver that is reused from silver that has previously been extracted from the earth. Recycled silver comes from several sources including jewellery, silverware and electrical components.
Scrap silver is melted down, purified and then formed into new pieces of jewellery. Recycled silver allows jewellery makers to do their part to reduce the demand for new silver mining which in turn will help to reduce the downsides of silver mining.
Jewellery that has been crafted from recycled jewellery is a great choice for ethically and environmentally responsible consumers who want to do their bit to make the world a better place. It reduces waste and converses natural resources while giving less power to mining companies who exploit the environment, local communities and workers.
What are the main benefits of buying recycled silver jewellery?
There are many incredible reasons why you should consider investing in recycled silver as opposed to new silver jewellery. Here are 8 benefits of recycled silver.
- Recycled silver is environmentally friendly: One of the most compelling reasons to buy recycled silver is due to how much more sustainable and environmentally friendly it is compared to new silver. The resources used to melt down already mined silver are much less compared to extracting it from the earth. Plus it reduces demand for new silver, which reduces all the negative impacts silver mining has on the environment.
- Recycled silver is even more affordable: Silver is one of the most affordable precious metals on the market. However, recycled silver is, even more, cost-effective. This is an affordable way to have high-quality jewellery while keeping your conscious clear.
- It reduces harm to local communities: By reducing the demand for silver mining, we help to reduce their production. The profits of many mines in developing countries do not reach local communities. By purchasing recycled silver, you can know you aren’t doing your part to support unethical mining companies.
- Recycled silver is ethically sourced: Recycled silver is more ethical than newly mined silver as there is no exploitation of workers in mines or exposure to dangerous working conditions and other human rights violations that come along with mining. By purchasing recycled silver jewellery, you can help to promote more responsible business practices while also helping to reduce the negative environmental and social impacts of silver mining.
- Recycled silver is high quality: The quality of silver isn’t diminished through the process of melting it down and reforming it into new pieces. It looks just as good and lasts just as long. You don’t need to sacrifice quality to be a conscious consumer.
- It is highly available: There is an abundance of silver in the world that has already been mined. This along with a growing demand for recycled alternatives means it is readily available and easy to find.
- Recycled silver has a minimal carbon footprint: The process of making recycled silver is much less energy and resource intensive than mining new silver.
Off the Map has several pieces of jewellery made from recycled silver. Browse our range of recycled silver jewellery here.
Want to learn more about how to be a responsible traveller and consumer? Check out these articles:
>>> Slow Travel: What it is and why you should do it
>>> How to be a more responsible traveller
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