Why Recycling Precious Metals Should Be Done by Professionals

Hobbyists seem to love to recycle precious metals. Perhaps they believe that they can earn a lot of money in their spare time.

Image of Specialty Metals refiner wearing protective gear urging consumers to leave precious metals recycling to the professionals.

We wonder why that is. As far as we know, most hobbyists don’t build nuclear reactors, oil refineries, or particle accelerators in their basements. What is it about refining precious metals that attracts them? It must be the word “precious.” They seem to believe that they can not only have fun, but also generate a lucrative second income by tinkering with platinum, silver or gold refining.

In that tinkering, many of them are exposing themselves, their families and even their neighbors to considerable risk. Only a very few forms of extracting and reclaiming precious metals are safe for hobbyists. The majority of extraction methods pose the risk of getting a chemical or thermal burn, being exposed to poisonous gases, causing a fire or explosion, or releasing harmful pollutants into the soil, water or air.

Why are these hobbyists taking such risks?

Frightening Videos on YouTube

If you want to get an idea of the dangerous work that hobbyists are doing, simply go to YouTube and search for videos about precious metals. While some videos show hobbyists engaged in safe pastimes like pulling the gold pins from printed circuit boards, a lot of them show hobbyists doing extremely dangerous things to reclaim precious metals.

It’s scary. You’ll see a hobbyist heating microcircuit boards with a propane torch, which releases dangerous gases. You’ll see another hobbyist plunging printed circuit boards into a tub of acid that seems to be sitting in a corner of his basement. Another hobbyist seems to have constructed a tank, filled with pieces of metal screening that are connected to a car battery, where he extracts silver from recycled fluids of some kind. There are also several videos that show an edgy-looking young woman who seems to be torturing old computers to death by tearing them apart and attacking their components with pliers and soldering torches.

It’s all very dangerous, which is why refining precious metals is a job that is best left to professionals. If you want to avoid serious illness or injury, that is. And of course, you want to do that. So the message is, don’t mess with dangerous recycling technologies at home.

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