Deciding which metal is best for your jewelry and your budget is a conundrum that many couples face as they pick out wedding bands or presents for special occasions. Just like you, JustMensRings.com is enamored with precious metals, but there are eco-friendly alternative metals worth looking into. Gold, silver, and platinum have long been popular choices for jewelry, but these precious metals come at a cost that has little to do with your wallet. Keep reading to learn more about eco-friendly metals and why they might be a better solution for you and your lifestyle.
Closer Look at Precious Metal Production
Studies estimate that approximately 2,500 tons of gold, 27,000 tons of silver, and 172 tons of platinum are mined each year. What average consumers forget is how much goes into mining these sought-after materials. Beyond drill testing and determining the kind of mine needed, you must also account for the infrastructure required to build mines. Metal mines require roads, processing facilities, and other resources, which can take up to five years to construct.
According to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), research estimates that gold production contributes between six and seven percent of all man-made mercury emissions. Although that figure may seem low, mercury can travel great distances before settling in bodies of water and contaminating fish or humans in the process. Mercury exposure can lead to poisoning, loss of peripheral vision, muscle weakness, impairment, and other side effects.
Furthermore, mining impacts the environment in more ways than one. Mining can lead to erosion, soil contamination, water pollution, loss of biodiversity and ecosystems, deforestation, and so much more. Even though emissions are reducing over time and manufacturers are innovating new technologies to find metals efficiently, you can help by choosing eco-friendly alternatives instead.
Eco-Friendly Alternative Metals
Almost all metals are recyclable, but there are several alternative metals that are more environmentally friendly than others. However, the degree to which a metal is eco-friendly depends entirely on the way it is mined. Cobalt, steel, and tantalum are all eco-friendly metals in their own unique ways.
- Cobalt: About 15 percent of all cobalt consumption in the United States is sourced from recycled scrap. Many cobalt suppliers work to obtain cobalt through ethical procurement and reduced risk to the earth.
- Steel: This well-known metal is one of the eco-friendliest metals available because so much of it comes from recycled scrap metals, and it is also extraordinarily resistant to wear and tear at a fraction of the cost compared to sterling silver or platinum.
- Tantalum: This rare earth metal is a distant cousin of titanium. Although tantalum remains a conflict resource in certain areas of the world, many manufacturers have found sustainable ways to mine this metal.
Many jewelers make promises about the sustainability of their products, but we prefer transparency and quality. If you are not yet sold on eco-friendly alternatives, consider tungsten and titanium as more sustainable alternatives to precious metals. Explore our selection today to discover eco-friendly alternative metals that may be better suited to your lifestyle and environmental consciousness. If you have any questions about this article, please contact us for more information.