Royal Mint to recycle silver from old x-rays into new jewelry 

13 September 2023 16:16

London/Llantrisant - Britain’s Royal Mint will extract silver from old x-ray film to produce jewelry, creating a new market in the circular economy of precious metals. The institution is partnering with Britain-based Betts Metals to create six new silver pieces for its 886 collection.

Hospitals pay to warehouse x-ray films for far longer than medically necessary. Now the Royal Mint will extract the silver from these films to produce jewelry for sale, an innovative approach to creating a circular economy.

The Mint, which produces the United Kingdom’s coins, is partnering with Betts Metals, a British jeweler that makes the Mint’s 886 jewelry collection named after the Mint’s founding year. In an August 3 press release, the Mint said the partnership is an example of sustainably recycling traceable metal to cut down on resource extraction.

“Our precious metals recovery Business is committed to leading the development of pioneering solutions within the industry,” said Royal Mint Chief Growth Officer Sean Millard. “This means responsibly sourcing materials that have the potential to reuse our planet’s precious resources, whilst supporting a circular economy and enabling customers to access products that align with their values.”

Betts Group Managing Director Charlie Betts said the partnership would set the standard for efforts to boost circular economies in other precious metals. “One of our main focuses is on material provenance and recycling and it’s about how we can develop those processes and that transparency within the trade, to take the process further forward,” he said.

The Royal Mint has also signed an agreement with Canadian cleantech startup Excir in 2021 to retrieve and recycle gold from electronic waste. Excir’s technology can extract more than 99 percent of the gold from disused circuit boards, discarded laptops, and mobile phones, according to a press release.

This work will occur at the Mint’s new precious metals recovery plant in Llantrisant in South Wales which is expected to open in late 2023. Mint officials are planning on expanding their recycling to copper, platinum, and other metals. ce/jd

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