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Urban Mining involves the identification of anthropogenic deposits; the quantification of secondary raw materials contained therein, economic considerations in the light of the available technical recovery variants and the currently achievable and future projected revenues and ultimately the economic recycling and recovery of the identified recyclable materials and the integrated management of anthropogenic deposits. Anthropogenic resources, in contrast to the primary resources, are those resources that are or were being used by people.
The relevant distinguishing feature in the consideration of urban mines is - in the sense of a life cycle assessment - the period over which resources are released. That is the period when those raw materials used in production and consumption goods are available again. Here, the various camps, depending on the period of use, differ in long and short term urban mines. Significant differences are noticeable for the various mines in the level of value consistency, the effort required for the use of secondary raw materials, the degree of influence through previous consumption and its achievable proceeds.