How Are Precious Metals Recycled?

In today’s world, awareness of the impact of climate change is increasingly inescapable, and issues such as sustainability and recycling are high on much of the world’s agenda. One way we as investors could be contributing to helping our planet is through precious metals.

In this article we will cover the process and benefits of recycling precious metals, where recycled gold and silver can be found, and how investors could be helping the planet whilst also planning for their financial future.

How much gold and silver is recycled?

Precious metals are some of the most highly recycled items in the world, with a surprisingly large amount of the annual consumption of gold bullion and silver products being made from recycled material. According to the World Gold Council, gold mine production accounts for around 75% of available gold each year - the rest is made up from recycling, due to demand requiring more gold than is newly mined. Silver recycling is a little lower as, due to its relatively low price in comparison, is more likely to be thrown away or lost.

The benefits of recycled gold and silver

The main benefit of recycled gold and silver is that they are less impactful on the environment. Precious metals mining requires new sources of naturally formed gold and silver, but these are now depleting, and as a result, the environment is being harmed as we search for new sources. Recycling existing gold and silver products lessens the need to source new material, meaning much less harm to the environment.

Recycled gold and silver can be melted down and recycled over and over again without losing their value or purity. These precious metals have always been recycled and therefore there is rarely any actual consumption of the product – ownership is merely transferred from one ‘owner’ to another. Therefore, the gold in those sovereigns you have could have come from anywhere - royalty? Ancient Rome? We can never know.

How are gold and silver recycled?

The recycling process begins with the metals being inspected and separated before they are shredded into smaller pieces. They are then melted in a furnace designed for each specific metal, as each metal requires a different temperature. A purification process is then undertaken to ensure the newly produced metal is free from any contaminants, and is of the required purity, and then the metal is cooled and solidified. The last stage of the process is the moulding of the metal into the finished product – your bar or coin.

Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum are classed as non-ferrous metals, which means they don’t lose any of their physical or chemical properties during the recycling process. This process can then be repeated as many times as required. Precious metals have a multitude of uses in our everyday lives: not only bullion bars and coins, but also no longer worn jewellery, dental gold, and even many modern technological products.

Are recycled precious metals more ethical and sustainable?

Recycled gold and silver are often seen as more ethical and sustainable than their newly mined counterparts. These metals can be recycled multiple times without losing their quality, which is a much more sustainable solution than mining for new gold and silver.

Recycling helps the future of our planet. The recycling of our old precious metals rather than mining the new, means there is no extravagant use of heavy machinery emitting exhaust fumes, no dammed-up rivers or water pollution, no forests felled, or mountains removed to make way for gold mining. The recovery of old precious metals, and re-melting it in refineries, means far less damage to the environment.

How you can recycle your gold and silver

Many places that sell gold and silver, such as ourselves, will also buy it back from you. This not only includes gold and silver bullion coins and bars, but also scrap gold and silver, such as old jewellery items, which may in turn go back into the system to be recycled and resold or melted down and made into brand new products.

Even small quantities of gold and silver can make a difference. If you own any gold or silver you are looking to part with, even some pieces of old jewellery items made of precious metals, why not give us a call on 0121 355 0620 or email us at You can also see more information on our sell to us page. Recycling your products with us means they could go back into the system to be resold or recycled, as well as result in a payday for you.

This blog represents one person’s opinion only. Please note, gold and silver prices may go down as well as up. Atkinsons Bullion & Coins accepts no responsibility for any losses based on information we have provided. We do not offer investment advice. Please carry out your own research before making an investment decision.