by mittag jewelry
Since mittag jewelry began to adopt Fairmined precious metals in May 2020 (learn more about Fairmined), we can often get affirmation from many consumers online or in stores, because of your support, we will keep going. What we’d like to share with you today is in addition to mining, do you know that the precious metals used in the jewelry industry nowadays have another source hidden in our lives, especially like in Taiwan, where metal resources are completely dependent on imports. Now just let us share more about it.
From a different angle, Taiwan is rich in urban mine
Apart from mining, the source of gold actually has another option, which is to choose "recycling metal". Have you ever heard of "urban mines"? Did you know that the gold, silver, and bronze medals awarded to the athletes at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, which are postponed for one year, are all made from metals recycled from local electronic waste (e-waste) in Japan?
Recycling metal refers to the recovery of valuable metals from a large amount of electronic waste like PCB boards of electronic products such as eliminated mobile phones and computers. Especially in Taiwan, in addition to the sources of recycling from scrap electronic products, Taiwan is one of the major wafer production countries. Wafer fabs are rich in many leftover materials in the production chain. Therefore, the recyclable metal content is even more impressive, and among them, the most valuable is precious metals, such as gold, silver, palladium, rhodium, etc. In the case of neighboring Japan mentioned earlier, they are also a country that depends on imports. However, according to calculations made by Japanese research institutions in 2008, if Japan promotes "urban mines", the type and quantity of the metal obtained can be ranked among the top precious metal "mining countries" in the world. In terms of gold mines, Japan’s "urban mines" account for 16% of the world’s gold reserves, and silver mines account for 22%. Even platinum can be ranked into the top 5 of the world’s mineral reserves. Think about it, does Taiwan have the conditions to work in this direction? The answer is yes. However, looking at the global current situation of precious metal recycling, the current challenges to be overcome are the two issues of "secondary pollution" and "consumer acceptance." We will also explain to you one by one.
The cruel reality of metal recycling industry—recycling may be the beginning of another pollution
The gold stripping method used for the recycled e-waste and chip production leftovers may actually give rise to other environmental issues. For example, in relatively undeveloped countries, the way that e-waste is treated after entering the disposal site is that workers directly put scrap circuit boards on the iron furnace, melt the plastic shell with fire and extract the chips, which releases a large amount of lead, tin and other pollutants during incineration. Another higher-level treatment method is commonly used in most countries, such as Europe, America, Japan, Taiwan, etc. The method of disposing of electronic waste is using mechanical smash and then incineration and smelting. Afterwards, the remaining waste materials will be buried. What is worrying, however, is that most of the metal stripping liquid commonly used in the industry contain highly toxic "cyanide." As long as they are accidentally inhaled, taken orally, or absorbed by the skin, they may cause poisoning and lead to life-threatening. The simpler family factories even use the highly corrosive "aqua regia" and then flush the waste liquid directly into the toilet, which is even more harmful to the environment. Of course, if these "urban mines" are handled properly, resources can be returned to the supply chain to be used again. If handled carelessly, toxic substances such as strong acids and alkalis will evaporate into the air, water and soil along with PM2.5 suspended particles. The secondary pollution may be more serious than no treatment. Therefore, if we want to achieve the goal of green recycling of metals, we should also meet environmental protection requirements in the recycling process; but is there really such a revolutionary technology in the world? Yes, and this technology was invented by a Taiwanese company.
President Tsai Ing-wen also praised the amazing invention—environmentally friendly gold striping technology
In order to change the previously mentioned poor recycling method, the Taiwan company "UWin Nanotech" has developed a cyanide-free metal stripping technology using patented technology, which can strip precious metals such as gold, silver and palladium. The solvent they use is neutral, which is not only friendly to the environment, but also harmless to the human body. It also has a higher gold stripping efficiency than the traditional gold stripping method using cyanide and aqua regia, and its stripping speed is 2-4 times faster than the traditional method, and the recycling rate can be higher at 10%-20%. In addition to preventing the high pollution caused by traditional recycling methods, it also achieves the goal of a green circular economy that protects air, soil and water resources, producing “all environmentally friendly gold” (refers to the source and the process of refining, all in line with the principles of environmental protection).
UWin Nanotech uses the electrochemical reaction of a neutral solution to dissociate the gold coating on the anode by providing electrical energy from the outside. The gold and sulfur will gradually melt together and form a gold-sulfur compound on the cathode plate. "This is so-called reverse engineering, things are returned to wherever they come. Originally, gold and sulfur used to co-exist, solvents containing sulfur are used to extract gold from electronic components." Not only stripping quickly, the solvents can also be reused. The composition of the electrolytic gold stripping agent is mainly sulfide, which is quite mild, and people can put their hands in the solvent directly without wearing gloves. When President Tsai Ing-wen visited the "Taiwan International Circular Economy Exhibition" in 2018, was surprised to see the demonstration and praised: "What a magical water!"
As a member of the sustainable jewelry group — mittag jewelry was also full of curiosity and surprises when visiting UWin Nano. Later, at the "Taipei Smart City Exhibition" held at the Nangang World Trade Center Exhibition Hall on March 26, 2021, through the "Sustainable Jewelry Platform" and "Etouch Innovation Co., Ltd." and "UWin Nanotech Co., Ltd." signed a MOU. Since then, mittag jewelry has officially adopted the "all environmentally friendly" gold and silver refined by "UWin Nanotech". We jointly officially named it "organic gold" and "organic silver" (taken from the definition of "organic", which is a production method that does not pollute the environment, does not damage the ecology, and can provide consumers with health and safety products). And began to provide consumers with options of Fairmined gold/silver and recycled precious metal organic gold/organic silver, ensuring that any product you choose from mittag jewelry, the source of the materials is in line with the concept of environmentally friendly .
"Sustainable Jewelry Platform" and "Etouch Innovation Co., Ltd." and "UWin Nanotech Co., Ltd." signed a MOU at Taipei Smart City Exhibition
Except for the Chinese and English names, the technical logo in the picture is for temporary use, and the final logo design is subject to the announcement by UWin Nanotech.
The global trend of resource recycling | East and West consumer acceptance is very different
Here, we will share a case: Dell computer launched a notebook made from recycled materials in 2014, and the selling price of this notebook was higher than ordinary notebooks, and it was launched in Europe, America and Asia at the same time. After a while, the sales in the European and American markets were good, but sales in Asia were sluggish. From the follow-up analysis, we learned that for European and American consumers, although recycled products are more expensive, they are positively helpful to environmental protection and sustainable use of resources. In contrast, the Asian market prefers products that use new raw materials. We assume that this is why Japan, the host country of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, encourages the public to recycle e-waste as raw materials for medals, and uses this to educate the Japanese public that these recycled precious metals will not affect its purity. On the contrary, the real purpose of supporting "using recycled resources" is to make the people accept the fact that "resource recycling can effectively slow down the consumption of the earth's resources", and hope that the government will lead enterprises and people to start producing and using recycled resources making green products.
In the same way, in terms of the selection of raw materials for jewelry, it is actually a challenge for mittag jewelry, because since the creation of the brand, mittag has used recycled metals; and in 2021, we have adopted UWin Nanotech’s "organic gold, organic silver". Although it takes a lot of time to explain and introduce the brand concept of mittag, the vast majority of consumers are very supportive of it. Taiwan is known as the kingdom of resource recycling, with a recycling rate over 90% and it is well-known in the world (ranked second in the world, right after Germany). Therefore, the people’s high awareness of recycling, the complete recycling industry chain, and the high gold content rate of Taiwan’s urban mines. In this wave of changes in the awareness of the circular economy, Taiwan must be one of the most important countries, and of course, you must also be an important member.
Not only mittag jewelry, the world famous brand PANDORA also supports the recycling of precious metals
The previously mentioned leading computer brand, Dell, supports the "circular economy", in addition to working hard to implement the products within the brand, it also cooperated with the jewelry brand Bayou With Love owned by the well-known actress Nikki Reed. Gold is extracted from the computer motherboard and made into jewelry, demonstrating the determination of the big brand to implement circular economy. You can learn more from mittag's previous article (The circular economy that Taiwan needs (2) "cradle to cradle").
Excitingly, the international jewelry brand PANDORA also plans to fully switch to recycled gold and silver to make its products by 2025. It will become the world's first large-scale jeweller to completely replace mining precious metals with recycled gold and silver. Under the leadership of international brands, we look forward to seeing consumers are more willing to accept jewellery made from recycled metals, and work with us together to make changes for a sustainable environment and cherish resources~
K gold items of mittag jewelry
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