URBAN METAL MANAGEMENT: THE EXAMPLE OF LEAD


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Abstract

The metal metabolism of an urban region, the City of Vienna, was investigated to discuss urban metal management strategies in view of environmental protection and resource conservation. About 90% of the metal stock is located in Vienna's buildings and infrastructure, whilst only 10% is in the landfills. The city stock represents a potential source for diffusive emissions. However, the control of the current environmental policy concentrates mainly on landfill emissions. Diffusive emissions resulting from the losses over the use of metal containing goods in the city are widely dispersed and cannot be easily controlled due to numerous non-point sources. First investigations indicate that for certain applications, the diffusive stock emissions are as significant as other sources. At present, Vienna's known diffusive and point source lead emissions into air and water are about 40 to 50 times higher than comparable past loadings from geogenic Vienna. Furthermore, a life cycle approach from acid car batteries indicates that sustainable lead management should consider flows and stocks in the ‘hinterland’ of the city too. The city metal stock also represents a potential resource. Leaded water pipes built-in in Vienna's city stock have the potential to produce 1.6 million traditional car batteries. In future such city mining strategies can partly replace ore mining.

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