It is interesting how they are all so green and green. Our graduate student at MoBWorkspace , Bibi Locke, has an environmental conscience and was asking me how to get green gold in Australia. Green gold is recycled gold from IT waste and other industrial applications as well as old jewellery. It is used in electronics because it has such wonderful working properties and in its pure form never tarnishes or corrodes in air. Shame on me, I didn't know much so did a bit of research. But it looks like you have to be careful about the source of any green gold that you might lay your hands on if you want it to be ETHICAL as well! I found an article on ABC online about the problem of E Waste. Here is an except:
"'Recycling centres' have sprung up in developing nations to cater for the exported waste. Electronic goods are reused or recycled in unregulated and unsafe conditions. In towns like Guiyu in China it is not uncommon to see open burning of plastics and wires and smelting of circuit boards to reclaim metals. Riverbank acid baths are used to extract gold. Lead-containing cathode ray tubes from monitors and television sets don't render much of marketable value and so are dumped. Toner cartridges are pulled apart manually, sending clouds of toner dust into the air. The workers, some of whom are children, generally work without facemasks or protective clothing. Guiyu's ground water is now so polluted that drinking water has to be trucked in from 30km away"
...AND IN AUSTRALIA according to the ABC, WE ARE LEADING THE WORLD AS USUAL!
"A few years ago the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) started a mobile phone and battery recycling program. AMTA partnered with environment group Planet Ark to educate the Australian public about the program. Hundreds of thousands of mobile phones have been recycled, recovering gold, nickel, copper and plastics for other manufacturing and keeping the cadmium from the batteries out of landfill and therefore out of the water table. This program is now a role model for both mobile phone recycling programs overseas and for recycling programs for other types of electronic waste."read entire article here
Gold has always had a bloody history. Even recently. Who knows if some of the gold in your wedding ring may have been stolen by Nazis from the people they persecuted in the death camps? Or torn carelessly from the earth in developing countries with devastating health and environmental impacts for the surrounding communities and underpaid workers?
This photo of the flooded jungle downstream from the Ok Tedi mine in PNG. Source: courtesy Mineral Policy Center. It comes from a World Resources Institute article on on one of the worst recent gold mining disasters close to home for Australia geographically and economically with the involvement of Australian mining company BHP.
An organisation promoting ethical gold to the US public and jewellers No Dirty Gold and is supported by influential Society of North American Goldsmiths (SNAG) They maintain that gold mining is one of the dirtiest industries on earth and have urged retailers to adopt a clean gold policy. It sounds like something I should follow up and let you know what I find out. Because to be honest, silver is gold's naughty little sister and I've gotta do some detective work to see where mine is coming from.
Anyway, enough of all the doom and gloom. If you want to avoid all that and support ethical local production, get along to Junk IT next week! I'm going to get there especially early for Danielle Wood's fabulous handbag so HANDS OFF everyone!