What is Urban Mining?

What is Urban Mining?

Wat is Urban Mining?

You might not think it, but the garbage cans in our cities are real gold mines. Many things we throw away, such as old household appliances, are still packed with scarce metals and other valuable materials. With Urban Mining', we don't get those raw materials from the ground or nature, but from the city (Urban): our new gold mine. 

Fastest growing waste stream in the world 

From the vacuum cleaner in 1902 to the microwave in 1955, the first electrical appliances amazed the world. Now we don't look up to anything anymore. We use all kinds of different electronic devices every day and find it quite normal to keep buying a new model. It is therefore not surprising that electronic waste is currently the fastest growing waste stream in the world. And that while there is still countless value hidden in these devices. Think of raw materials such as copper, lead, nickel, zinc, silver, gold and platinum. 

Instead of constantly extracting these raw materials from the ground and depleting natural resources, we can recover them very efficiently from our own discarded electronic devices. For example, smartphones are packed with silver and gold. To give you an idea: we can extract up to 42 grams of gold from 8.5 tons of raw ore, and up to 2 kilograms from 8.5 tons of electronic waste. 

“In the Netherlands alone, about 27 million euros worth of gold is thrown away every year.” 

Urban Mining more environmentally friendly 

In addition to the fact that we recycle our materials properly with Urban Mining, there is also an important environmental aspect involved. Extracting silver and gold from electronic waste is much more environmentally friendly than traditional mining. The social impact is also much smaller. Deforestation, dumping of chemical mining waste, exploitation and child labor are the most normal thing in the world in the gold industry. You can read more about this this blog which we wrote about this subject a while ago. 

In short, Urban Mining and recycling our electronic waste is an absolute must in a circular economy. So don't just throw your old appliances with the residual waste, but bring them to a special collection point in your area. This way we can extract the valuable materials and nothing is lost.

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