Royal Mint harvests silver from x-ray film

By staff writers

August 8, 2023 -- The U.K.'s Royal Mint has launched a program to obtain silver for making jewelry from recycled x-ray film, according to an August 3 report.

The so-called X-Ray Silver initiative "offers the Royal Mint a new source of recovered and traceable sustainable metal," said Sean Millard, chief growth officer for the Royal Mint, in a news release.

Light-sensitive silver bromide or silver iodide crystals are key components of x-rays. The silver compounds are suspended in an emulsion layer on the film. While traditional x-ray films have been replaced largely by digital x-ray, hospitals all over the world store x-ray film well beyond its retention date and incur associated storage costs, the Royal Mint said.

Silver sourced entirely from medical x ray film will be used in a Royal Mint jewelry collection
Silver sourced entirely from medical x-ray film will be used in a Royal Mint jewelry collection. Images courtesy of the Royal Mint.

"This initiative allows them to recycle x-ray film and receive the monetary value of the silver that's recovered," Millard added.

The Royal Mint is a U.K. government-owned company that produces coins and has partnered with Betts Metals to process and refine the silver before experts from the Royal Mint use it to craft jewelry.

Ultimately, the X-ray Silver project addresses a rapidly increasing demand for silver, while reducing the Royal Mint's reliance on mined materials, the Royal Mint said.

Copyright © 2023

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