Computer Scrap Is Everywhere . . . Here’s How to Turn It into Cash

It’s no secret that vast numbers of computers are being discarded. According to some estimates, one million pounds of old computers are tossed out every year.

That’s a lot of computer scrap. What percentage of that tonnage is gold? That’s a good question to ask, but a firm answer is hard to find. But even if you lowball it and estimate that gold makes up only .25% of those million pounds, that still means that 2,500 pounds of gold can be found in those old computers. Where does that gold end up? Some of it ends up in landfills when computers are discarded. Some of it gets recycled for cash by people who are smart enough to find and reclaim it.

Where can gold be found in computers? Simple answer. Wherever there is a printed circuit board, you will find a small quantity of gold, mostly in the little gold pins that serve as contact points between the boards and other computer components.

Where will you find those printed circuit boards? Here’s a list to keep handy.

  • On motherboards, which are the biggest printed circuit boards found in computers.

  • In CPUs, which are the memory chips that plug into motherboards. (They can contain platinum as well as gold, so do not toss them!)

  • In modems, graphics cards, and other peripherals that were added to computers to add functionality or improve performance.

  • In printed circuit boards that are found in monitors, especially fat old cathode ray monitors. (They don’t contain much gold, but they do contain some.) Even newer flat monitors contain small amounts of gold you can remove and recycle.

  • In keyboards and mice. The amount of gold they contain is very small, but there is some of it present in certain models.

  • In computer tablets that people are tossing them in favor of newer, more powerful models.

What About Cables, Thumb Drives, External Speakers and Other Small Peripherals?

Almost without exception, they do not contain gold that can be recycled.

Do You Need to Extract the Gold Before Sending Computer Scrap to Specialty Metals to be Recycled?

In most cases, you do. Call us at 800-426-2344 and we can explain the steps to take. In some cases, it is best to snip the gold pins and contacts from circuit boards and send them to us for recycling.

How Much Computer Scrap Does It Take to Make a Profit?

The simple answer is that the more computer scrap you collect, the more money it will put in your pocket.

But the good news is that many older computers are being tossed by colleges and school systems, by hospitals, by industries, by municipal governments, and even by retailers. So our advice? Think like an entrepreneur. Get out there, strike some deals and start collecting computer scrap.

To discuss how much scrap you will need and how you can make money by recycling it, call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners today at 800-426-2344. Our precious metals consultants are here to answer your questions.  

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