Technology 5 min read

Recycled Guns and Other 'Tech for Good'

Pongsatorn Singnoy |

Pongsatorn Singnoy |

A collaborative project aiming at curbing gun violence turns illegal firearms seized in Latin America into premium earbuds.

Some people think that in order to curb violence in society, we need more gun control. Others call for less.

Statistically, the first thing that restricting access to firearms reduces is violence. This can be seen by comparing gun death homicides by proportion in other developed countries.

Conversely, others claim that victims of gun violence could better defend themselves if they had a gun. Last year’s Sutherland Springs, Texas mass shooting is one example gun-control opponents sight as a validation of the “good guy with a gun” theory. Indeed, there was a heroic man with a gun that may have prevented more casualties. Yet, 26 people had already been fired upon.

However, when illicit firearms enter the global scene, the ongoing gun debate in the U.S. pales in significance–if only in sheer numbers. For example, the illegal gun trade in El Salvador accounts for almost 46 deaths per 100,000 people (compared to 3.85 per 100,000 in the U.S.).

When it comes to illegal firearms, the picture is far darker. These weapons often fall into the hands of the most dangerous drug lords, extremists, and terrorists.

#Humanium puts melted gun #earbuds in your headClick To Tweet

The Humanium Metal: Giving new “Humane” Life to Illegal Firearms

The illegal trade and flow of firearms fuel armed conflicts, civil wars, terrorism, and urban gang turf wars all over the globe. Out of all of these conflicts, the largest proportion of these casualties are always innocent non-combatant civilians.

Hailed as a historic achievement by the UN, the Arms Trade Treaty was ratified by 89 states out of 130 signatories. As the treaty came into force only four years ago, it’s still too soon to judge its success.

IM Swedish Development Partner, a Swedish NGO, seeks to tackle illicit arms proliferation by recycling them into a metal that could be reused in consumer products.

Through its Humanium Metal Initiative, IM works in many conflict zones. In Latin America, it destroys illegal arms seized and melts them down into “Humanium”.

This recovered metal is then delivered to manufacturers, designers, and artists to be turned into something benign and beautiful.

At CES 2018, Yevo Labs, a Swedish wireless headphones maker, unveiled its first product to incorporate Huamnium metal recycled from illicit arms. These are typically seized through weapons destruction programs in countries like Guatemala and El Salvador.

Killing Three Birds With One Gun

Featuring Near-Field Magnetic Induction (NFMI) technology, Bluetooth connectivity, 3- hours autonomy, 30-ft range, and noise isolation, the Yevo wireless headphones X Humanium shines even more with the Humanium metal it’s made from.

Apart from their significant weight, the Humanium version headphones don’t come cheap.

With a $499 price tag, the X Humanium earbuds cost twice the price of the Yevo 1. At just $249, the company’s original earbuds have the same features but do not contain the Humanium metal.

However, Yevo has already stated that half the proceeds would go to the IM organization to fund its several initiatives in twelve countries around the world. These projects mainly focus on supporting firearms victims, gun disposal, and other humanitarian causes.

Projects like Yevo’s doesn’t just contribute to reducing illegal arms circulation and providing financial support to victims. The incorporation of the Humanium metal into its earbuds and charging cases will help Yevo stand out in a crowded market.

“Creating YEVO X Humanium Metal, a product that elicits change in such a positive way is the greatest reward,” said the founder of YEVO Labs. “This collaboration is bigger than headphones. It’s part of a global movement that removes illegal firearms from the streets and recycles them into a material that helps move us towards a more peaceful future, all while giving back to those affected by violent crime.”

When Will Recycled Production Become Feasible?

Apple has pledged to end mining. If that wasn’t ambitious enough, in the company’s 2017 Environmental Responsibility Report, it also promised it would use 100% recycled materials for its products.

#Apple promises to end mining and go 100% #recycled production Click To Tweet

People and companies rarely do things “just because” or just to be morally good. Facebook’s recent news feed changes, for example. Zuckerberg wants to help humanity feel more positive and incite meaningful conversations through social media. Yet, some argue that Facebook’s latest move is to help the company recuperate stagnating price-per-ad growth.

More and more, individuals and companies alike are opting for alternative energies. they want to work with closed systems and circular economies. They’re not just doing this to save the planet; they’re doing it to save money.

Another example: are decreasing supplies of REE like lithium a more economic incentive to hedge toward recycled electronics? China sure thinks so.

What other products do you know of that are taking advantage of recycled materials or alternative energies?

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

Comment (1)
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    Mark Chua January 23 at 3:45 pm GMT

    Thank you very much for sharing this article, I think this is hopeful news and can spark new ideas in many countries? I hope that we can have many more safe and loving communities. Thank you for sharing this company and idea 🙂
    Best regards,

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