Green Tips: Eco-Friendly Jewelry
Green Tips | October 4, 2018
The only thing harder than keeping up with today’s fashion trends is making ethical jewelry choices. Many pieces are designed to last only a short period of time before falling apart. Gems can be unethically sourced, which means they were obtained in an unsustainable way that harms workers or the environment. The toxic byproducts that come from mining gems contribute to water and air pollution, soil erosion, and loss of biodiversity. One of these toxins, cyanide, can end up in waterways, causing damage to ecological and public health. Each ounce of gold produces 20 tons of waste. Manufacturing traditional jewelry can also result in the release of sulfur and chlorine compounds, which are greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
To avoid these harmful practices, we’ve compiled some tips for starting a collection that not only looks great but has less of a footprint on the planet as well.
Buy pieces made from recycled materials. Supporting companies that use recycled metals will help decrease the demand for mining new metals that harm both people and the planet. Brilliant Earth, Winden, and Hovey Lee are a few brands that use recycled metals and source from suppliers that follow environmental and human rights standards. Their recycling and refining process allows the metals to maintain their high quality and look as if they’re brand new.
Make someone else’s old your new. Buying second-hand is another way to get vintage and in-style pieces. The next time you need new jewelry, try heading to a local thrift store or even hosting a swap-party with your friends. Not only is this a great way to get new products sustainably but it is one of the most affordable ways to do so.
Buy gems that are ethically mined and manufactured. Look for brands that source from conflict-free suppliers to ensure that their mining and manufacturing practices are not exploitative. Not only are ethically manufactured gems and metals better for the planet and workers, but they are better for your body too. Andrei Bonelli, Kimberley Process, and Bario Neal are among favorites for designers who use ethical practices when creating their jewelry.
Pay attention to the packaging. Sustainable purchases go further than just the product itself! Steer away from pieces that are wrapped in single-use plastic or cardboard to make your purchase even more environmentally-friendly.
Support local artisans from around the world. There is no better way to buy unique jewelry than by supporting a local artisan. Etsy, Raven and Lily, Article 22, and Ten Thousand Villages are just a few more brands where your purchase will make a positive impact on local economies and empower small shops across the globe.
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© 2017 New York League of Conservation Voters Education Fund. All rights reserved.