© Altmetalle Kranner

In the city of Vienna, there are about 4,500 kg of iron, 340 kg of aluminum, 200 kg of copper, 40 kg of zinc and 210 kg of lead are hidden per capita, and around 7,500 kilograms of metals can be found in a 100 square meter apartment. These raw materials are ready to be recycled.

We are surrounded by raw materials, everywhere and at any time. They are in the things and devices that we use every day in the homes in which we live and in the vehicles that we use. We can fall back on the created by humans raw materials store, because the worlds raw materials supply is becoming scarce and so, needs to be utilised more effectively. To label the city as a mine, as a source of raw materials: This is urban mining.

Raw materials are brought to us and processed here. They are imported at great financial expense and often with enormous ecological destruction resulting from the other continents. Why don’t we use the already processed raw materials, of which we are surrounded with in our buildings, equipment and vehicles?

The concept of urban mining

Urban mining is more than just recycling. It is a concept that is based on four pillars:

  • Intelligent design, which already incorporates recycling
  • Resource cadastral maps, on which the mineral deposits created by man are marked just like on land maps
  • Methods for finding, assessing and extracting raw materials in anthropogenic deposits
  • New technologies for the recovery of raw materials, which are used only in small quantities and still not able to be profitably recycled


The example shows that man certainly has the potential to be an urban miner. In the city of Vienna, each citizen equates to about 4,500 kilograms of iron, 340 kilograms of aluminium, 200 kilograms of copper, 40 kilograms of zinc and 2.012 kilograms. In today’s age a 100-square meter apartment contains about 7,500 kilograms of metals, which corresponds to the weight of about 7 cars. It is these treasures that should be used in the future.

Ideas platform

Urban mining, as an idea of the conscious handling of resources, includes many different raw materials and areas of life: architecture, business, research, lifestyle and many more.

All the ideas and works to the broad field of the conscious dealing with raw materials are presented on www.urbanmining.at.

The project is financed by Altmetalle Kranner.


Brigitte Kranner

Kranner GmbH – Altmetalle Recycling

E-Mail: brigitte.kranner@kranner.com

Website: www.urbanmining.at und www.altmetall.at

This post is also available in: German