How an old laptop could turn into your next ring

By Tamanna Wadhwani  December 22nd, 2022

Old tech from Lenovo proves to be a goldmine of resources for Australian sustainable jeweller Holly Ryan.

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Holly Ryan, a jewellery designer from Noosa, is turning the tide on e-waste by creating modern heirlooms using precious metals extracted from old Lenovo laptops. 

She recently partnered with tech giant Lenovo on their Asset Recovery Service (ARS) program to combine her passion for jewellery making and sustainability. This program provides solutions to mitigate the environmental risks of asset disposal, maximising their utility value and creating high-end markets for recovered materials. 

“It was always really important to me to not take anything further from the earth and use recycled materials and upcycled materials because I’m really passionate about things not ending up in landfill,” said Ryan

Through the Lenovo Precious Metals initiative, Holly has designed an exclusive set of Wabi Sabi rings representing the imperfect beauty of nature and the circular economy. She was excited to find out that precious metals like 24-karat gold, sterling silver and platinum were all recoverable from circuit boards, CPUs, keyboard membranes and more. 

“Thanks to companies like Lenovo these precious metals can be extracted from computers which would have ended up in landfill. Instead, jewellers such as myself are able to create beautiful jewellery out of materials which would otherwise have been thoughtlessly discarded,” said Ryan.  

According to a research report by Lenovo, only 9 per cent of e-waste is being collected and recycled in Australia and New Zealand. However, these electronics contain very valuable metals creating an untapped market that can be prevented from entering landfill. Just a tonne of e-waste can have around 100 times more gold than a tonne of gold ore. 

“I think that all companies really need to be taking a hard look at what assets they might have within their businesses that could be recycled or upcycled and Lenovo is leading the way in this. We all need to be paying attention,” Ryan said. 

Apart from her partnership with Lenovo, Ryan also accepts pre-loved pieces from customers that she can repair and recycle and is always looking for more ways to weave sustainability into her business.

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Tamanna Wadhwani

Tamanna moved from India to Australia to pursue a degree in environmental science and conservation biology. After learning about the concept of a circular economy in 2020, she worked with various organisations in this sector and is interested in solving complex climate change and waste management problems. She loves to communicate with people about all things sustainability or animals. Outside of work, Tamanna is a budding hip hop dancer who also loves travelling, cat cuddles and reading.

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