As Australia’s cities grow and the population increases, more buildings will be built, and more consumer electronic products such as TV sets, mobile phones, computers and household appliances will be bought. As a consequence, increasing numbers of buildings and products will reach their end-of-life and be disposed of and replaced. Australia’s cities are therefore valuable ‘urban mines’, containing substantial amounts of metals and minerals that may be extracted and reprocessed in a more energy-efficient way compared to smelting metals from virgin ores.
The Australian Recyclable Resources Atlas presents the estimated in-use stock of metals in urban areas in Australia, and aims to provide a comprehensive understanding of the urban mines of the future in Australia.
Specifically, the atlas maps:
- the spatial distributions of various metals (steel, copper and zinc) in buildings and electronic waste using data and proxy indicators
- the existing infrastructure for collection and resource recovery
- how social practices of recycling are related to demographic characteristics