Jewelry & Accessories

Now You Can Recycle Your Gold Jewelry In Canada

March 8, 2024

Did you know? Over 200K tonnes of gold have been mined throughout history. With nearly half of mined gold being turned into jewelry, recycling gold can significantly decrease the carbon footprint of the jewelry sector, providing a unique opportunity for jewellers to shift toward a circular economy and offer more sustainable products to maximize their material value. In a giant leap forward for sustainability practices with gold, Michael Hill is launching its first-ever gold recycling program today across Canada, called Re:cycle. Using innovative new technology, this industry-leading program allows Canadians to recycle their gold products in exchange for Michael Hill Jewellery vouchers. We chatted with CEO Daniel Bracken to learn more. —Noa Nichol

Hello Daniel! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.

I am the CEO and Managing Director at Michael Hill, where I lead the team and company to strategically grow the business in a sustainable and responsible way. With over 25 years of experience managing renowned fashion brands globally, I bring expertise in retailing, fashion, and brand development to Michael Hill.

Today we’re talking gold; what are some interesting stats/facts about gold mining, and the amount of gold that’s turned into jewelry, that you can share with us?

That’s an interesting question! It’s estimated that over 200,000 tonnes of gold have been mined throughout history, and jewellery makes up the single largest use of gold. So it’s clear that there is a large amount of already-mined gold in circulation, and that there is significant opportunity to recycle it and offset some of the need for newly-mined gold. Our Re:cycle program provides an opportunity for some of that already-mined gold to find a new home and creates a way for the brand to provide a circular option for our customers.

What are the environmental impacts of gold mining and transforming gold into jewelry? How does Michael Hill’s new Re:cycle program aim to help mitigate these?

While gold mining does impact the environment, the industry as a whole is changing, and it is a really exciting time for our team at Michael Hill. Recycling gold can significantly decrease the carbon footprint of the jewellery sector, providing a unique opportunity for jewellers to shift towards a circular economy and offer more sustainable products to maximize their material value. Our Re:cycle program intends to keep jewellery in circulation for as long as possible and encourage the reuse of unused materials. We first launched our Re:cycle program to our Australian market in April 2023, and since then we have been able to save an estimated 11,000 tonnes of mining ore and 60 tonnes of emissions. We love that this program not only gives old jewellery new life but that it also has a positive impact on the environment.

How does the program work, exactly, from consumer participating to technology to process?

Canadians can either choose to pick up a free Re:cycle kit from any Michael Hill store or order it online through Michael Hill’s dedicated gold recycling website at Once the gold pieces are sent to Michael Hill’s support office, they are assessed and valued by Michael Hill’s experts, who use non-destructive testing called X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis to ascertain the gold content of jewellery. The amount of “pure gold” is calculated by combining the gold percentage and jewellery weight, and then the current market rate is applied to offer a quote. Customers are offered a Michael Hill e-gift card in exchange or have the option to get their pieces shipped back to them free of charge. If they move forward with the exchange, the gold is then recycled by melting it down and refining it until it reaches its purest form, ready to be transformed into something new.

Can you provide additional details about the Re:cycle program, including how the valuation process works and what customers can anticipate?

Re:cycle is intended to keep unused gold in circulation- gold has a unique property meaning it can be melted down and reused over and over without losing any of its beauty or quality.  Our recycle program allows Canadians to recycle their old gold pieces that they may never wear or are out of style and exchange those pieces for something new. The valuation process is conducted by experts at Michael Hill using X-Ray Fluorescence Analysis  technology that weighs the gold percentage and weight to assess the current market value and provide a quote.  Customers can then receive a Michael Hill e-gift card in exchange for the value or have their pieces shipped back to them free of charge.

What is Michael Hill’s ongoing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) goals and sustainability commitment?

Our goal is to make a widespread impact on the environment and achieve a fully sustainable, responsible and circular product line by 2030. Michael Hill is deeply committed to sustainability, aiming to make positive contributions to the environment and communities. We are working towards net zero impact on the planet, focusing on fair labour practices, and supporting community development. As a member of the Responsible Jewellery Council that aligns with UN goals, we are driving global change and adhering to ESG standards. We’re determined to ensure that our pieces are sourced and consumed ethically and responsibly to drive a sustainable future for the jewellery industry.

From your perspective, what is the future of corporate sustainability initiatives and how can other companies creatively integrate circularity into their business models?

As societal and environmental concerns escalate, businesses are under mounting pressure to adopt sustainable practices. Companies can creatively integrate circularity into their business operations by redesigning products with longevity in mind. By establishing effective recycling initiatives, promoting collaboration in supply chains to reduce waste, and utilizing technology to monitor and enhance resource utilization, companies not only contribute to the environment but also increase cost efficiency, innovation, and overall brand reputation.


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