Mobile mining

17 : 08 : 2015 Rotterdam : Jorien Wiltenburg : Aluminium

Rotterdam – Narrative designer Jorien Wiltenburg is showing how to harvest and repurpose valuable metals found in everyday objects.

  • Aluminium and copper can be found in computers, mobile phones and other consumer electronics
  • Wiltenburg uses low-tech methods to transform e-waste into practical and decorative objects 
Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam
Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam
Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam
Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam Micro Urban Mining by Jorien Wiltenburg, Rotterdam

In her work, which examines notions of product value and resource rarity, Wiltenburg was struck by the amount of valuable material that is unknowingly discarded as e-waste. 

‘As much as 70% of precious metals found in consumer products go to waste because people simply don’t know how to harvest them,’ she explains.

To try and solve this problem, Wiltenburg created Micro Urban Mining, a tutorial that shows how to harvest, melt and repurpose aluminium and copper commonly found in obsolete or unwanted household objects.

‘I wanted to connect with people on a personal level, to help make them more self-sufficient and eventually reduce the need for industrial mining, which has enormous environmental consequences,’ says Wiltenburg.

The Big Picture: Consumers are wising up to waste and want to work with brands to restore global ecology. Find out more in our macrotrend Whole-system Thinking