The Royal Mint is pioneering innovative technologies in reclaiming precious metals to bring the most sustainable products to its customers whilst protecting the world we live in for future generations.
The most sustainable way you can buy any product is buying something that you know will last longer than you will and one whose very creation is a benefit to the planet.
886 shares The Royal Mint’s sustainability ambitions to lead the way in the future of the jewellery and precious metals industry.
“We are transforming our business for the future – expanding into areas which complement our expertise in precious metals, champion sustainability and support employment”.
- Anne Jessop, Chief Executive Officer at The Royal Mint
Less than 20% of electronic waste is currently recycled world-wide and 7% sits in disused electronics in your home. This means that gold, silver, copper and other highly valued metals, valued at US $57 billion, are mostly discarded as opposed to being collected for treatment and reuse.
Our process ensures that none of these materials go to waste, to landfill or to be burnt to reclaim their value.
Pioneered by UK based company, Betts Metals Group, the x-ray silver is refined from the tonnes of segregated medical X-ray film from UK and Irish hospitals, stored at considerable cost to the healthcare provider; or sent to landfill, at considerable cost to the planet. Our partnership with Betts illustrates how we are willing to not only innovate ourselves, but partner with those that share the same values.
- The Royal Mint has licenced the technology of a Canadian clean tech start up, Excir to introduce a world first technology to the UK, which will enable it to safely retrieve and recycle gold and other precious metals from electronic waste.
- Excir’s patented technology, based on revolutionary chemistry, recovers 99%+ of gold from electronic waste, contained within the circuit boards of discarded laptops and mobile phones. The chemistry selectively targets and extracts precious metals from circuit boards in seconds - offering a new solution to the world’s fastest-growing waste stream.
- Each year, more than 50 million tonnes of electronic waste is produced globally, equivalent in weight to 350 cruise ships the size of the Queen Mary 2. If nothing is done, this is set to reach 74 million tonnes by 2030 – almost a doubling of tonnage in a decade.
- Less than 20% of electronic waste is currently recycled world-wide. This means that gold, silver, copper, palladium, and other highly valued metals conservatively valued at US $57 billion - a sum greater than the gross domestic product of most countries - are mostly discarded as opposed to being collected for treatment and reuse.
- Scientists and engineers at The Royal Mint have now developed the capability to grow the innovative technology from laboratory scale to mass production. Instead of electronic waste leaving UK shores to be processed at high temperatures in smelters, the approach will see precious metals recovered at room temperature at The Royal Mint’s site in South Wales. Initial use of the technology at The Royal Mint has already produced gold with a purity of 999.9 and, when fully scaled up, the process has the potential to also recover palladium, silver and copper.
- Embracing the principles of a circular economy, The Royal Mint and Excir technology has the potential to ensure electronic waste is handled in a controlled and regulated manner – preserving natural resources for longer, helping to reduce the environmental impact of e-waste and fostering new skills and employment in the UK.
- The Royal Mint works with UK based Betts Metals Group to ensure the use of silver in our products comes from an equally sustainable source as the gold it is producing from e-waste
- The first scalable product of its type, the x-ray silver is refined from the tonnes of segregated medical X-ray film now processed by Betts Metals every week.
- Two to five grammes of silver are found in every kilogramme of X-ray film. These films are usually kept in storage beyond their legally required retention date, at considerable cost to the healthcare provider; or sent to landfill, at considerable cost to the planet.
- Betts Environmental has collected 300 tonnes of X-rays from UK and Irish hospitals so far in 2022, generating hundreds of thousands of pounds for the medical industry through rebates paid for the silver recovered, on top of the storage costs saved by recycling the films.
- It is the first recycled silver of known provenance on the market. Betts recycles all elements of the X-ray film, extracting the silver via a specialised process at its facility in Kidderminster.