Circular Economy

Circular economy is all about ensuring a sustainable use of the Earth’s resources. Recycling is an important element of the circular economy as it benefits the environment and reduces the number of raw materials we need to mine. However, there are still large raw material losses in the current material cycle. This is due to both insufficient knowledge about which materials are in the items we discard, and a lack of technological solutions to extract them.

Developing the circular economy requires knowledge and skills related to society’s and companies’ material flows.

We offer

Material flow analyses

The waste’s path from collection to recycling is long – and often obscured when the waste is exported. MiMa undertakes to map out the fate of the waste and examines how well it is recycled.

Material characterisation

To assess if and how raw materials in the waste can be utilised, the composition of the waste and its content of raw materials must be analysed. MiMa has access to laboratory facilities for chemical and mineralogical characterisation (including XRD, EDS, SEM) as well as to the specialised knowledge of resource geologists.

Market surveys

MiMa carries out market research to identify opportunities and limitations for a valuable recycling of the raw materials and to ensure that the raw materials are not downgraded.

Urban exploration

MiMa investigates anthropogenic resources and examines whether it is possible to increase the value of recycling even more – an activity also known as ‘urban exploration’.

Contact us for Collaboration

If you want to know more about cooperating with MiMa, circular economy or our publications, please get in touch.

Contact information

Telefon: 91 33 34 34

About circular economy

The circular economy and its leaks. Modified after figure by the European Commission.

The raw materials in the waste

The raw materials in the man-made waste streams are also called anthropogenic resources. In Denmark, several million tonnes of anthropogenic resources are produced every year. A large fraction hereof is sorted for recycling at the source, but a large untapped potential exists. However, the chemical composition of these raw materials is poorly known. Correspondingly, little is known about the resource potential of old landfills.

Mineral waste

Some types of waste are particularly difficult to recycle due to their very heterogeneous chemical composition and because they often consist of components of many different sizes mixed together – from microscopic dust grains to large pieces and lumps. Examples of such types of waste include slag and ash from waste incineration, sludge from wastewater treatment, dust from industry and road sweeping, construction waste, surplus soil and contaminated soil.

The challenge is to get metals and minerals recycled in such ways that they remain in a material curcuit and are not downgraded to e.g. fillers and soil layers.

Urban mining

Extraction of useful raw materials from society’s waste is often referred to as ‘urban mining’. There are many similarities between urban mining and traditional mining. For instance, it is necessary to first determine:

  • the content of raw materials that can be mined
  • how to extraxt them
  • the amount
  • the cost.

Effective urban mining is difficult due to the complex composition of the materials; it is therefore typically easier to extract the raw materials by primary mining. With a growing focus on recycling and circular economy, urban mining is an area where new solutions and technologies will grow in the coming years.