Ethical Gold can have various names such as Fairtrade, and Fair-mined. Ethical gold is used to describe the conditions of the mining process and the treatment of their workers:
- no informal economy
- no illegal operations
- no environmentally unsound practices
- good labor conditions
- no gender inequality
- no child labor
- no contribution to armed conflicts
- transparent supply chains
Ethical gold however isn’t 100% sustainable as mines are still allowed to use harmful chemicals to extract minerals. The bright side is that those chemicals are stored and disposed of safely.
Unlike ethical gold, recycled gold is not mined. The gold supply can be taken from old machines, antique jewelry, or scrap metals. Just like the name suggests, many scraps and fine dusts are recycled to form usable amounts of gold. This process helps reduce the amount of damage done to the land and encourages a sustainable lifestyle. However, one must be careful to find trustworthy sources of refined gold, some refineries are not transparent with their supplies and can actually use “dirty” (traditional mined) gold. Recycled gold usually falls into three categories
- Unprocessed Recyclable Gold (bullion bars, pieces of jewelry or coins)
- Industrial by-product. (furnace flue dust, spent crucibles or floor sweepings)
- Melted Recyclable Gold (has been melted as the first recycling process and cast into rudimentary bars or some other form with undefined dimensions and variable fineness.)
The most important thing to look for in recycled gold is transparency and source. These are the fundamentals of reducing illegal and dirty mining practices.