Finding Scrap Metal And Other Valuable Materials Inside Computers

Environmental Blog

There are many reasons to get rid of an old computer, all with different potential forms of recycling. You may be replacing a computer that was manufactured over a decade ago with no real upgrade potential, or you may be getting a replacement for a new model after irreparable damage. No matter the reason, try to recycle as many materials as possible by looking at a few scrap metal and valuable material salvaging points.

Case And Framework Recycling

The computer case is the first place to look for recyclable material, since you'll need to remove it to get to everything else. Cases may be covered with plastic, but the underlying material and framework is usually made out of aluminum or steel. Aluminum is more common, as steel is often reserved for rugged computer design

If you need to compact the computer case for storage before recycling, make sure to remove all panel screws and connecting pieces of plastic. Once the case is broken down into smaller components, it's easier to bend the case material by hand. Due to the structure of the case, the panel material may tear while bending. Make sure to wear work gloves if you intend to bend by hand.

Pulling Metal Components From The Motherboard

There are a few metals that are either soldered onto the motherboard--the main circuit board of the computer--or attached with screws. One valuable component is the heat sink, which is a solid block of metal with sliced fins on the outside layers. Heat sinks are usually made out of aluminum, but high-performance or custom computers may use copper heat sinks for faster heat transfer away from the computer.

Many computer scrappers seek the gold content from computers, but there isn't much gold to scrape away unless you plan on starting a gold pile. The gold is usually in the more of the electrical traces on the motherboard or some of the contacts on the edges of some connection ports.

Keep in mind that not all traces are made of gold. Although data is electricity and gold is a good conductor of electricity, there is a "good enough" speed of transfer for some areas of the board that may call for a cheaper material. There are also some high-performance computers that use more valuable materials, such as germanium or platinum for data transfer.

The karat of gold used in computers also varies by design and the purpose of a specific circuit. Be sure to test the gold content before scraping into a specific pile if you maintain specific karat measurements for your gold recycling.

If you need help with dividing recyclable materials for computers or would like to know current salvage rates, contact a scrap metal professional, like those at American Northwest Recycling.


13 November 2015

propane for off the grid heating

I have always dreamed of living off of the grid. I didn't want my house connected to any utilities and I didn't want it anywhere that could be seen from the road. When I found this little lot for sale way out in the middle of the woods, I knew that I had found my future home. The one thing that I had to consider was how I would heat my home without any utility connections. The only solution to this problem was to have a propane tank delivered and use propane to heat my house. Find out about using propane to stay off the grid here on my blog.