Stop E-waste: urban mining saves 60 billion

e-waste ghana

Germany estimated the value of the waste that is adapted to generate energy, at sixty billion!

There’s gold in our waste. Literally.

The recovery has launched a new global industry billions. Is called the Urban Mining and it’s hot.

Urban mining – there’s gold in that there techno-junk

One ton of broken cell phones, computers or other electronic waste contains sixty times as much gold as a ton of gold ore. The gold in electronic waste is also a lot easier to harvest.

It is estimated that already 30 to 40% of world demand for rare metals can be covered and this is just the beginning.

Germany and The Flemish have started excavating the landfills which about half of the waste material, such as slag, steel, copper and certain metals can be recycled into raw materials.

Sixty billion!

The rest of the material will be reused as a new green energy plasma technology. Germany estimated the value of the waste that is adapted to generate energy, at sixty billion!

And it has another, almost hilarious consequence: For years we dumped our techno waste in the third world. But in India or Africa only 25% of the quantities of gold, platinum, etc. coltran has been recovered.

Umicore Belgium they recover up to 99%. (watch the video)

The principle of the Urban Mining seems the solution to many of our environmental problems and energy supply. It narrows the gap between Western and the developing countries. It creates a whole new industry whose size could well be enormous.

Urban mining in São Paulo

Urban mining, UN, sustainable project, Recycle, reuse

Favela Painting Project Brazil

São Paulo, one of four pilot cities for the UN urban mining program, is focusing on decentralized waste management for two of its informal housing settlements:

  • Heliópolis, the largest favela in São Paulo
  • Paraisopolis, another favela in the city

Urban design researchers from the the zürich, partnering with the city’s municipal housing authority, propose to engage local residents to recycle discarded materials, which will be combined with either concrete or a polymer to create building components used to make prefabricated elements for favela upgrading.

building community with design

The planned first phase for the urban mining program will restructure local waste collection and build a recycling and prototyping center for composite materials and building systems. When concrete is combined with urban mining products, such as expanded clay, polystyrene, recycled plastic, or natural fiber, it is lighter in weight with improved insulation and tensile properties.


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