At Arborea Jewellery I am green-fingered in more ways than one. Working in conservation I am passionate about the environment and love getting out in the garden. I firmly believe in the ethos reduce, reuse, recycle. For example, the electricity that powers my tools is 100% renewable!
Here is a little more info...
Silver is a highly recyclable metal.
By using recycled silver I am avoiding contributing to the ongoing environmental impact of mining which includes erosion, loss of biodiversity, and contamination of soil, groundwater and surface water by chemicals from mining processes. However this does put the cost up, but at less cost to our planet.
All the silver I now use is recycled; including the sheet, wire, necklace chains, solder, earring scrolls and pendant bails. When I have enough scrap I even cut out the middle man and melt it down myself.
I believe in providing clarity on my supply chain - I use recycled eco silver sheet, wire and solder from Cookson Gold, Kernowcraft and Bellore Rashbel, recycled chain and findings from Curtis and recycled ear scrolls and wire from Seek 2 Sustain.
I use ethically sourced stones and support handmade businesses
I have started sourcing stones which have been reclaimed from vintage jewellery so are not newly mined.
Previously my stones are from businesses where they have relationships with the providers and can vouch that the methods of extraction for these stones are ethically sound, they have also signed up to a clause to renaturalise the habitat in the area following extraction of the materials.
The stones I use now are reclaimed or from small artisan mines (by hand) where the companies have signed up to the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (preventing conflict gems) they are Government registered and Fair Trade. I also buy gorgeous glass beads from handmade businesses.
Gift-wrap created from recycled materials.
I only use pillow and gift boxes that are made from recycled card (now including the inserts!), but also the ribbon I use looks just as pretty as normal ribbon but it is made from recycled wood pulp cellulose so is far more environmentally friendly. I print the care instructions and thank you notes onto recycled card, I use recycled tissue paper for wrapping, recycled paper and non-toxic glue to seal the parcels and sometimes stick on the addresses.
I use citric acid (non-toxic) to clean my items after firing. I will always reuse this by simply topping it up with water. I've never tipped chemicals down the drain but have them collected to be treated and disposed of responsibly. Old pickling fluids contain copper which is toxic to wildlife. I reduce my silver waste by melting down scraps and rolling them out.
The brass industry throughout the world depends on the recycling of brass scrap for its survival. Making brass from new copper and zinc would be uneconomical and wasteful of raw materials so, since new brass articles are made from recycled scrap, brass is said to be sustainable. In the UK brass manufacturers use almost 100% brass scrap.
As with the brass I use copper offcuts and scrap, this is actually even better than recycled because it cuts out the extra transport and fumes created by the recycling process.
I responsibly collect the lichens, flowers and leaves used to make the items, from my local area and following current legislation. I never pick anything rare or from protected areas.
Equipment and methods
- I use citric acid to clean my items as it is non-toxic, and none of my chemicals go down they drain, they are re-used (such as my copper sulphate for electroforming, I just keep topping it up with water!).
- My torch uses propane cylinders which are recycled not thrown away.
- I use silicon wheels to polish which are vegan friendly, as is the liver of sulphur I use to oxidise my pieces, I also use soy wax to lubricate my saw
- As I mentioned, my household electricity is from 100% renewable sources, a little more expensive but totally worth it.
Now it's down to you
The only part beyond my control is what you do with your unwanted packaging, such as the postal box or maybe even gift box. Please put these in your recycling bins to continue the chain.