Back in the day, I used to run a green family blog for a client and one week I ran a green wedding series. One of the biggest questions I got that week was about tossing non-eco-friendly wedding rings. It’s an important question for couples who are already married, but who only recently decided to live greener.
Below is one of the questions I got related to this issue.
“So, what would people recommend doing with wedding and engagement rings they already have? My husband and I didn’t realize the ethical issues with gold and diamonds when we got married and are unsure what to do next. Keep my ring because the damage is already done or sell it and make a more ethical ring choice?”
It’s a very good question and I’ve got two trains of thought running through my mind…
Why keep your current wedding ring?
- Your current ring may be very meaningful. While green is good, it’s hard to put a concrete value on sentiment. This is the ring you got during your engagement and maybe your partner picked it out specifically for you. Part of me thinks it would be less than fun to trade in an item that means a lot to you. Even, if say, that item is not eco-friendly.
- I’m leery of trading in any item for an eco-friendly version unless the trade-up will make an actual significant eco-impact. For example, if you drive a lot, and you trade in your fuel guzzling car for a more efficient car, that’s a useful trade-up. Trading up to a more eco-friendly wedding ring isn’t exactly achieving any major efficiency perks as compared to the old ring.
- Most of the time trading up to a new item creates some new issues, such as shipping emissions, costs and so on.
- If your partner isn’t as on board with green living, it could hurt some feelings to trade-up to a new ring.
Why trade in your old wedding ring?
- Non-ethical, non-green rings aren’t just a little bad, they’re a lot bad. There are many problems associated with conventional wedding rings.
- If you never loved your ring in the first place, and want to trade-up anyhow, why not go green?
- How we represent to others does matter and it can make an impact. For example, when someone asks about your ring, you can say, “It’s eco-friendly because…” and maybe that someone will like your answer and will also invest in a green wedding ring. A sustainable wedding ring is a great catalyst for helping someone you know consider eco-impacts.
- If you simply feel really bad about wearing a ring that is not eco-friendly or ethical, it may be enough of a reason to trade-up. Your wedding ring shouldn’t bother you. If it does significantly bother you, I’d trade-up to an eco-friendly ring and maybe have a little green anniversary ceremony.
What do you think? Should you toss or keep non-green wedding rings?