Save precious resources with ‘urban mining’
A database of valuable materials available for recovery from scrap vehicles, spent batteries and waste electrical equipment has been created.
The Urban Mine Platform tracks the flows of precious metals and other raw materials in products, whether they are currently in use or at the end-of-life stage.
It reveals the amount of valuable materials in the EU’s discarded vehicles, batteries, computers, phones, gadgets and appliances totals roughly 18 million tonnes, equivalent to the weight of around three million elephants.
The report notes that a smartphone contains around 40 different critical raw materials, with a concentration of gold 25 to 30 times that of the richest primary gold ores.
Recovering materials from high tech products produces 80% less carbon dioxide emissions compared to taking it out of the ground.