Choose jewelry made from recycled materials
Choose jewelry made from recycled materials to sport sustainable, idiosyncratic fashions while preventing materials like plastic, glass, and aluminum from entering landfills or becoming litter.
Find it! Jewelry made from recycled materials
The green bling listed below is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to designers working with recycled and reclaimed materials. For even more finds, peruse sites like UncommonGoods, GreenLoop, Elsewares, and eco-artware.com, or search for "trashion" at Etsy.
In case you wake up one morning and decide that you really want to wear earrings made with used Lego figurines—hopefully not on the day of an important business meeting—look no further than the *e*oware jewelry line by San Francisco-based artist emiko-o. Using salvaged and new plastic alongside precious gems and metals, *e*oware has been featured in museums and galleries across the US and UK.
Are you an eco-conscious IT gal looking to add a little flair to your wardrobe? Turn to Geekware by Acorn Studios, a line of jewelry and accessories crafted by Edmonton, Alberta-based Nicola Harper.
Although the stunning handbags are the piece de resistance of Renee Christopher's Hardwear line, sneak a peek at her cuffs—made from recycled Arizona Iced Tea and beer cans—and earrings—made from salvaged acrylic commercial signs—for waste stream to the runway fashions.
Los Angeles-based jewelry designer Stefania Panfili works with Luxane, a state-of-the-art polyurethane resin for her Modern Vintage creations. For her Recycled Art line of bangles, she throws recycled aluminum beverage cans into the mix.
After taking a gander at Kathleen Plate's Atlanta-based recycled glass jewelry line, Smart Glass Jewelry, you won't be able to argue with the company's motto: "You won't believe how beautiful a beer bottle can be."
Vividly colored, daringly designed, and stylishly sustainable, Becky Crawford's Spacefruit plastic jewelry collection will surely knock those not-so-green mined rocks right off of you. Pieces are crafted from objects such as shampoo bottles and nurdles, which are aquatic life-endangering plastic pellet flotsam used in shipping.
This stylish, eco-friendly jewelry is made from high-quality silver of melted Maria Theresa thalers (dollars), a currency used in many countries, including Austria, Ethiopia, Morocco, Niger, and Chad, for hundreds of years. They’re hand-cut, making each piece unique.
Have you ever contemplated guitar string heaven? Lucky spent strings end up in the crafty hands of Molly Magdalain, a triple-threat singer/songwriter/designer, who incorporates them into her jewelry line, StarStrings. Magdalain primarily uses donated, recycled strings and strives to incorporate found objects into her work. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and keychains are available from this musician on a mission.
Designer Gwen Davis injects a breath of sustainable, stylish air into the bling scene by creating "nouveau vintage" out of strictly organic, vintage, and recycled materials. Through her pieces—necklaces, bracelets and cuffs, and personal accessories—Davis makes it clear that green jewelry isn't just about hemp chokers.
To the dismay of many audiophiles, the good old vinyl LP is a thing of the past, since replaced by cassettes, CDs, and then MP3s. The crafty folks at Alarm Industries keep the records spinning—or dangling, in this case—with the Vling!
Choosing jewelry made from recycled materials helps you go green because...
- You are helping give second life to materials that would otherwise enter the waste stream.
- You are not promoting the use of virgin resources which can be energy intensive and harmful to the environment.
- Frequently, jewelry made from recycled materials is handcrafted by independent designers who follow green business practices; it is also sometimes made by artisans living in economically developing regions around the world.
No matter what material your recycled jewelry is crafted from, it's a piece of trash turned into treasure. And although purchasing a necklace made from a pop top won't significantly reduce the staggering amount of garbage that's generated and sent to landfills or recycling plants, incinerated, or composted each day, it does make a small difference.
In 2006, over 251 million tons of garbage were produced in the US. Each American resident generates approximately 4.6 pounds of garbage every day; more solid waste than the residents of any other country. Canadians generate the next largest amount of waste, about 3.75 pounds each per day, whereas Germany and Sweden produce less than 2 pounds per day per person, the least of all the industrialized nations. In 2006, recycling, including composting, resulted in diverting 82 million tons of material away from landfills and incinerators, up from 34 million tons in 1990.
When most people think jewelry, they think of silver, gold, diamonds, and other precious gems. Although some jewelry made from recycled materials does incorporate these elements, it's often vintage and not the primary material. Gold mining is one the most polluting industries in the world, and its biggest threats include acid mine drainage, cyanide spills, and heavy metal pollution. In the western US, mining has polluted the headwaters of more than 40 percent of watersheds. The weight of the waste produced by mines in the US is almost nine times the weight of the garbage produced by all of America's cities and towns combined. Metal mining eats up a disproportionate amount of energy. The industry employs less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the world's population, but it consumes 7 to 10 percent of the world's energy.
Although the resulting environmental damage of diamond mining in the US is small given that there is only one active diamond mine in the country, this industry has proven to be a dirty, dangerous one in other diamond mining regions, particularly in African countries like Sierra Leone. To access diamonds, large amounts of rock and other matter—called overburden—is removed from the earth, disturbing surrounding ecosystems. Acid mine drainage is also a threat. In areas where there are few or nonexistent environmental standards—such as filling in empty pits and redepositing topsoil on reclaimed land—threats to surrounding ecosystems are heightened.
- Enviroblog - Ask EWG: Is there eco-friendly jewelry?
- the greener side - All that glitters isn't green, but this jewelry is.
- Great Green Goods Shopping blog showcasing eco-chic items from around the world, including jewelry made from recycled and reclaimed materials
- Etsy Trashion Blog Read about the creation of handmade goods from discarded objects from true trashionistas
- DIY Network - Recycle, Reuse, Reward: Recycled Pop Top Bracelet by Elizabeth Dunn Step-by-step guide on how to make your very own pop top wearables
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Municipal Solid Waste Generation, Recycling, and Disposal in the United States: Facts and Figures for 2006
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Municipal Solid Waste Basic Facts
- Denver Recycles - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle
- No Dirty Gold Campaign - Retailers: Don't let the mining industry tarnish the jewelry business
- US Environmental Protection Agency - Liquid Assets 2000: Americans Pay for Dirty Water
- Inter Press Service News Agency - Gold Jewelry: World's Dirtiest Valentine's Gift?
- Emporia State University - Diamond Mines of North America
- The Environmental Literacy Council - Diamond Mining