Urban Mining Turns Waste into Value

May 23, 2018 by Shanna Edberg

Urban mining, or recycling and reusing everything from buildings to electronics to household waste, is a way to preserve the value of goods that would otherwise be thrown away. Nearly everything can be recycled: “Paint is dried up to make chalk, the rancid oils are processed into cosmetics, and old devices dismantled to recycle materials such as paper, plastics, metals or glass… Tires can be processed into road surfaces or insulating material.” Since materials like metals have already been mined, transported, and refined, recycling them for a second use requires far less energy than producing that metal from scratch, and preserves natural areas from being exploited to mine new ore. Urban mining also means that cities may already be in possession of the materials they need for future growth and industry.

Climate Protection: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, land use, and industry Energy & Mobility: Saves energy needed to refine and transport raw material Resilience: Allows cities to become more self-reliant for natural resources Jobs & Assets: Provides materials for construction and industry Health, Well-Being, & Safety: Prevents toxins from entering the soil and water supply via landfills Connection: Promotes a circular economy and awareness of resource consumption

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