WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEWLY MINED AND RECYCLED SILVER?
All silver was mined at some point and all precious metals must be refined before they can be turned into products, whether the source material is newly mined or recycled. The question is which is more environmentally and ethically sound. Here is why recycling is such a big deal.
Miners in third world countries are often working in unsafe and unregulated conditions, some just children, often paid very little in mines operated by criminal cartels or corrupt governments. The communities are exploited and the wildlife displaced and some even under the threat of extinction.
Even first world modern mines that use the most environmentally responsible technologies to extract ores from the earth still cause a lot more environmental harm than recycling does. The cleanest of mines produce thermal pollution and by-products that accumulate and pollute surrounding soil. They also burn diesel and other petroleum-based fuels that pollute the air.
Although recycling processes are not completely pollution-free, they are much cleaner than mining. Refining precious metals releases some heat into the air. Also small amounts of chemicals in the form of gas can be released into the atmosphere, even if a modern precious metals refineries employs the most advanced equipment to keep those emissions to a minimum.
Whilst we need metals to create products that are both essential such as medical equipment and some just a luxury, let us ask ourselves: Just how much material objects do we need to be happy? And do we appreciate what we have, or do we just consume endlessly? 👇🏻
At TEPLA I source two materials from Cooksongold. The first is ECO SILVER, which is made of 100% recycled and scrap silver products, such as jewellery, medical equipment and electronics. The second is ARGENTIUM SILVER, a traditional sterling alloy modified by removing some of the copper and adding metalloid germanium. The silver in the alloy is entirely of recycled origin.
👉🏻Here an image of mine in Argentina. Pirquitas project - San Miguel open pit
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