Eco-Jewelry Buying with Claire Staley of Your Salvaged Sea
It’s no secret that people are demanding more from what they purchase these days. More ethical standards, more care for the environment, and more longevity in their possessions. However, consumers are also aware that companies track their movements and will market towards what you’re buying. Greenwashing has become commonplace, so how do you know that you’re getting what you think you’re getting?
When looking for eco-friendly jewelry, we can get so caught up in looking at the materials that are used and how those materials can be disposed of properly. But there is so much more to the environmental case regarding jewelry. How were the materials procured? Who is procuring them? How are they formed into the proper shapes? Are there nasty chemicals used to turn them into jewelry or in the mining process? How are the workers and miners treated? Does the company attempt to give back to the community or the world in any way?
When in doubt, always use recycled or upcycled materials. By creating a market for recycled plastics, glass, and other materials, we support the recycling industry itself and put pressure on companies not using recycled materials to start doing so. From using recycled metals and plastics to glass, we have to purchase recycled materials to ensure that the recycling facilities have someone to sell their goods to. It’s imperative that we slow down the use of virgin and raw materials when we have the option to use recycled.
However, it’s great that the environmental community is discussing the failures of recycling when it comes to plastics. Make sure, if you do buy plastics, that not only is it recyclable, but it’s made of 100% recycled plastic. Otherwise, opt for non-plastic jewelry. Glass is great because it doesn’t degrade through the recycling process, so you can reuse it over and over.
When in doubt, ask! I have emailed so many companies with questions I needed answered before I purchased. From “do you test on animals, it doesn’t say inexplicably on the website…” to “what materials do you use to package this item,” it feels like I have inquired about almost every aspect of the product I’m purchasing. Companies that truly care about their customers, the environment, and the ethics of their products will be happy to answer your questions.
Focus on purchasing from companies you support. Not only will you know what you’re getting, but you can change the world with how you spend your money. It’s just as important to spend your money on products and services you care about as it is to not spend it on what you don’t care about. Basically, whenever you make a purchase, you’re making two decisions. You’re choosing to spend your money on this, and you’re choosing not to spend your money on all the other alternatives to it. Both are powerful ways to send a message and to make the world a better place!
I also believe in trusting your gut. I don’t think people give themselves enough credit for knowing what the right decision is. If you feel like there is something sketchy going on with a product or company - listen to that! Companies that are doing good for the right reasons will be open, honest, and available to you. So go purchase some beautiful, ethical jewelry!
Claire Staley is a blogger, environmentalist, and the voice behind Your Salvaged Sea. Your Salvaged Sea is an "ask me anything" destination for anyone interested in learning more, and diving deeper, into the where, what and how of all things sustainable living. Find Claire on Instagram @yoursalvagedsea or online at yoursalvagedsea.com.