Bullets for Buttons: A Program Seeks to Use Seized Guns for Good
Can guns be recycled and transformed into toys? The Humanium Metal Initiative (Humanium) is a Swedish NGO aims to take guns off the streets and have the metal recycled and sold, with the revenue being funneled back into anti-violence programs.
"It is the most expensive metal in the world", says Miguel Alexandre Barreiro, one of the three founders of Humanium, as reported in El País. The Swedish group doesn't collect the guns itself or melt them down. The guns are either seized or collected from gun holders by local authorities, who then melt them down into ingots, wire or pellets, depending on what the buyer needs, according to the organization. Humanium then certifies that the metal comes from recycled guns, sells the ingots to socially conscious companies then uses the revenue to fund violence prevention programs and help victims of gun violence in the country where the metal originated. It is basically trying to create a market for the gun metal.
The IM Swedish Development Partner, main sponsor of Humanium, together with the Swedish Government, already has several tons of metal from the first two countries involved, El Salvador and Guatemala. The last weapon destruction in El Salvador destroyed 1,825 guns. The organization plans to scale up its work as demand grows for the metal.
Central America will be among the top priorities for the Swedish NGO, as it is one of the most violent regions in the world.
The organization says it is currently negotiating with several global brands. The metal could be used for items ranging from jewelry to smartphone cases.
As reported in El País.