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The Journey Of Your Recycling

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I’m Niki, the founder and designer of Enji Studio Jewelry. We’re a sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in beautiful north county San Diego.

at Enji we’re on a mission to bring you meaningful, modern, ethical design that shows off your style, honors the journey of your life, and reflects your values. We craft each piece for you in our Carlsbad studio bringing new life to recycled gold and silver and using only FairTrade and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

Enji was founded in 2014. We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing and giving back to the local and global community. We create our pieces for everyday wear.

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As creators and consumers, our choices now have a global impact. This is why we consider how things are made to be important and this to be part of our responsibility as a business and global citizen. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. This is why we make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fairtrade stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper and clothing.

Niki is a GIA Graduate Jeweler. She was awarded the 2016 Halstead Grant Award and 2014 Windgate Fellowship Award by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and Europe and her work can be seen in the pages of Glamour UK, Basic, Evening Standard, National Jeweler, and more. To see her one of a kind art pieces and CV check out nikigrandics.com

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. We make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fair mined stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper.

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. Ethical Metalsmiths and Fairmined gold and gems.  All our pieces are made in our studio in San Diego and we use low-impact, environmentally conscious studio practices to lessen our footprint. 

We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing, because it’s important. To us, to you, to the women and men who mined the stones we use to create our pieces. We also donate a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking because that’s part of the future we want to see.

Ethical sustainable jewelry fairtrade fair trade fair-trade jewelry recycled gold recycled sterling silver San Diego Carlsbad ethical gemstones ethically sourced sustainable

The Journey Of Your Recycling

Hilda Chang

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Have you ever wondered what happens to your recycling after it is picked up? In this fast pace world, it can be difficult to think beyond the “right now”, but we like asking the tough questions of where our resources come from and where they end up. We try to reveal that which is usually overlooked or taken for granted. We wanted to know what happens to our recycling after those blue bins. Is it being properly taken care of and how? To help keep our facts straight and credible, this blog will reflect the San Diego area.

 

Imagine you have come back from picking up groceries, and are starting to put away your new items. You open the fridge and remove a nearly empty milk jug, a flat soda bottle, and a half empty can of beans your roommate left in the fridge. Being an environmentally conscious person, you empty out all the contents, wash your roommates can, and begin to make the trip outside to your blue city approved recycling container. Along the way you even pick up an old box your roommate didn’t bother to break down and place all four items in the blue bin.

 

This is where the story for these items begins. They are collected on Friday morning while you are at work by IMS Recycling or Allen Company, the two contractors San Diego works with for recycling. Both companies sort through the mounds of recycling they collect daily to find what is useful and what is too contaminated. Good thing your items were emptied out properly and will have a good chance of being recycled.

 

The mounds of recyclables are placed in big conveyor belts and slowly sorted. The city of San Diego stated that “The process includes conveyor belts, manual picking lines, disk screens, air classification, magnetic separation, eddy current separation, and more manual separation.” so each of your items will become categorized

 

After separation the items can be either further broken down and sold as new products or raw products.

 

Much of the newspaper, mixed paper and cardboard will go to Asian countries for production of a variety of paper products, including more boxes, tissue paper, and packaging. Paper will be broken down, given a hot chemical and water bath to remove all impurities such as glue, staples, plastic windows, and inks. The watery paper pulp can then be bleached (if needed), dyed, pressed, dried, and cut into the required paper product.

 

Plastic soda/water bottles are made from very high-quality plastic called PET. It can be produced into dozens of products, including t-shirts, sweaters, tennis shoes, other bottles, and backpacks made from recycled products.

 

Milk and juice jugs and detergent bottles are typically made from HDPE plastic. They will come back to stores as new containers or show up in parks as playground equipment, on back yard decks as plastic lumber, and in parking lots as speed bumps and parking blocks.

 

Plastics will be sorted into piles according to color and types before being broken down. The plastic is then cut up and made into small pellets or fibers. These then can be used to make other plastic products or interwoven with fabrics to produce textiles.

 

And remember your roommate’s old can of beans? Because you cleaned it well it now has the potential to be used in planes, cars, bikes, toys, and anywhere that could potentially use aluminum and steel. Cans are chopped up, then heated to remove the paint coating. The pieces melt and mix in a vortex furnace. After being filtered and treated, the molten aluminum is poured into ingots, which are rolled into flat sheets ready to be made into new cans.

 

Your items have now become new products and have started their journey again. Remember to buy recycled items to help close the circle.

 

Sources:

https://www.sandiego.gov/environmental-services/recycling/residential/curbside/recyclab

https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/issues/recycling-reality.htm

http://www.savemobile.org/Recycle/recycling.whathappens.shtml