Urban Mining: N³ Analyzes the Potential for Bonn

What metals can be extracted in what quantities in a city today and in the future? This is the prerequisite for "Urban Mining": We need to know which resources are present in households, buildings, or infrastructure. Only then can we make these resources available to the economy again when their use comes to an end. The aim of "Urban Mining" is to replace primary raw materials, saving not just valuable resources but usually also energy. This can also help avoid greenhouse gas emissions, especially during raw material extraction.

Together with partners (INZIN, PROGNOS, and TBF Ingenieure), N³ developed the recycling potential of metals that can be recovered in Bonn, also known as the city of Beethoven, through “Urban Mining”. Special interest was shown in “Critical Raw Materials,” which are raw materials or metals not extracted in Europe but are of enormous importance for our future. Examples include cobalt and lithium for high-energy batteries, and neodymium for high-efficiency magnets, as well as gallium and tellurium for solar energy.

This research allows us to formulate a resource strategy for the Federal City of Bonn. The project included: The project included:

– a study of the raw material potentials in the urban area

– an action plan for further development in the collection of waste electrical and electronic equipment and batteries

– contributions of waste management to the sustainability strategy of the city of Bonn.

N³ also examined the legal options that Bonn has within the framework of building permits, as an environmental authority, or as a public waste management authority, to promote resource conservation.

Henning Friege will present the results of this study at the ISWA World Congress 2019 in Bilbao. Click here for the publication in the magazine “Müll und Abfall”.

Photo credit: Beethoven in front of Bonn Post Office, Source: Press Office City of Bonn

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Dr. Friege & Partner Wirtschafts- und Naturwissenschaftler