Thursday, February 14, 2008

Go Green the Next Time You Buy Gold

More and more folks are taking in their environmental concerns when shopping for their jewelry these days.

When Carla and Ryan Lents decided to tie the know, they hoped to tie in their love for the planet.

They designed invitations made from recycled paper and used only organic flowers. Buying the right rings was important too, since they're concerned about the impact of gold mining on the environment.

Gold mining, like all mining, changes the landscape and chemicals are often used in the extraction process.

Scott Cardiff is with the "No Dirty Gold" Campaign; a group that claims gold mining is one of the dirties industries.

He says not enough is being done to clean it up so they're calling on the industry to adopt a uniform set of standards.

"We have jewelry retailers who said they would support more responsible sourcing of their gold, from more responsible mining, which represents over 20% of U.S. jewelry sales at this time," says Cardiff.

The World Gold Council, made up of some of the largest mines, says its already working hard to address concerns.

"Most members of the World Gold Council, for example, already have in place very well documented codes of practices and principles that they adhere to," says George Miling-Stanley of the World Gold Council.

Practices and principles set by several associations formed specifically to improve ethical, social and environmental practices.

But Cardiff wants to see even more change. He's calling for a certification process.

"So that when you go to a jewelry store and want more ethical jewelry, they can actually say here's our certification that we are actually sourcing from a more responsible mine," says Cardiff.

For now, if you're a concerned consumer, Cardiff says you may want to ask if the jeweler is part of the campaign, or you can also go recycled.

A company called "Green Karat" will melt down any gold you send in and make new pieces for you. It doesn't even matter what color gold you recycle.

"We take out all the alloys, which is what lends color to gold. Depending on whether you want white gold, or yellow gold, we will add fresh alloys and make brand new pieces," says Matthew White of "GreenKarat."
.Matthew White, GreenKarat

That's what the Lents did, they sent in old family rings to make new ones.

If you're not in the market for jewelry right now, you can still recycle any old gold you have in your jewelry box.

With "GreenKarat" you can send in the pieces and they'll give you a store credit or donate a portion of the value to an environmental organization.

Here is the full article.