Urban Mining – City Waste as New Source for Raw Materials

Urban mining - City Waste as New Source for Raw Materials - Frankfurt am Main

Urban mining can be described as the process of reclaiming elements and compounds from products, buildings and waste that exist around us.  

Recycling experts have discovered a business in recovering raw materials from sewage sludge, building rubble, old electric devices or heating pipes.

Urban mining has a huge potential for enabling more efficient resource use and offering new business opportunities for the recycling industries.

Recovering raw materials from sewage sludge

Metal contamination in the environment is one of the persisting global issues since it not only disturbs the environmental quality, but also the environment and human health.  Wastewater treatment plants are being transformed into raw-materials factories. Energy is generated from sewage sludge, and phosphates are recovered.

Click here for more information about wastewater treatment.

Recovering raw materials from building rubble

The construction industry is critical to the healthy functioning of economies. However, it is also one of the largest consuming sectors of energy and raw materials. The goal of urban mining in this field is the recovery of secondary raw materials for sustainable optimization of future construction processes.

Recovering raw materials from E-waste / Waste Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE)

Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is currently considered to be one of the fastest growing waste streams globally. The recycling of WEEE offers substantial opportunities in terms of making secondary raw materials available on the market.

Click here for more information about E-waste (electronic waste) recycling

Urban mining – A circular future

In the context of our changing climate, tightening resource limits and waste intensive production patterns, we all need to operate within more sustainable boundaries.

Our cities are responsible for the vast majority of the worldwide consumption of materials.

Most of the materials that we use on a daily basis can also be mined on a daily basis from the materials that we dispose.