Best Places to Find Large Quantities of Precious Metals

Best Places to Find Large Quantities of Precious Metals

What are the best places to find huge quantities of precious metals?

How to Avoid Myths and Mistakes

Many answers are flying around to that question. Unfortunately, many of those answers are just plain wrong. In today’s post, let’s take a closer look.

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How Are Precious Metals Recovered from Electronic Scrap?

If you have old cellphones, computers, or other electronic devices, you probably have some questions about how you can make the most money by recycling them. Here is a basic rule of thumb to keep in mind . . .

If the process that is used to extract the precious metals in those devices is too costly, the devices might not be worth recycling at all

Shown: electronic scrap gold plated pins sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

Shown: electronic scrap gold plated pins sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

It Makes Sense . . .

If you spend time with a pair of snippers removing the gold connecting pins from old computer CPUs and forward those pins to a top precious metals refinery like Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, you will get a high dollar return for every ounce of those pins that you send in. It makes sense, because comparatively little processing is required to separate the gold that those pins contain from other metals and contaminating materials. In contrast, if you contact us and ask about several hundred intact cellphones that you would like to recycle, you might learn that the cost of processing those phones is higher than the value of the precious metals that they contain. After all, one cellphone usually contains only a few cents’ worth of gold.

For a bit of perspective, here is a brief rundown on the different processes that are typically used by precious metal refiners to extract gold, silver, platinum and palladium from electronic scrap, or E-Scrap, as it is called in the recycling business.

Whole Device Refurbishing or Remanufacturing

This is a recycling option that can only be used for current-model smart phones and other devices that can still have use if they are refurbished by the manufacturer or another company.

Extracted-Component Recycling

The case study we cited above – the recycling of gold pins that have physically been removed from electronic devices – is a good example. If you do the physical work of removing components that contain valuable quantities of precious metals, you will get a higher dollar return for every ounce of material that you send in to be recycled.

Shredding, Granulating, Heat Processing and Other Industrial Recycling

These processes are done by large industrial recycling companies that grind up circuit boards and components and use a variety of processes to separate and extract the materials that they contain. Shredded printed circuit boards, for example, can have their ferrous materials removed by magnets, then that residue can be sifted and searched for precious metals, then that residue can be melted so that plastics can be recycled and used in other products.

Which Process Will Yield the Most Value?

As you have already observed, the “purer” recycling options (like extracted component recycling) are likely to put more dollars in your pocket than are the “dirtier” options (like shredding and granulating).

Not sure which is the best way to get the most value from your E-Scrap? Give us a call at 800-426-2344 and we’ll be pleased to explain what your best options are.

Related Posts:

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Do Tablet Computers Contain Recyclable Precious Metals
Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos
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Four Kinds of Easy-to-Overlook Electronic Devices that Contain Gold

Four Kinds of Easy-to-Overlook Electronic Devices that Contain Gold

We’ve written on this blog about many kinds of electronic devices that contain gold that can be recycled by a top precious metals refinery. We’ve covered laptop computers, tablet computers, cellphones, and even the circuit boards that can be found in junked cars.

Shown: gold-bearing circuit board inside of a VCR, which can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals.

Shown: gold-bearing circuit board inside of a VCR, which can be recycled and refined by Specialty Metals.

Today, we’d like to give you a checklist of other easily overlooked electronic devices that contain gold too:

Remotes of All Kinds

Just about every household has a batch of old remote control devices for old TVs, VCRs, and more lying around, sometimes quite a few. And each of them contains a small printed circuit board that contains a small quantity of gold.

Old Stereo Components

Stereo amplifiers and receivers contain printed circuit boards that contain gold. The good news is that older components often contain more gold than newer ones do. If you have a quantity of them - in your town recycling facility, perhaps? – you could be sitting on dollars too.

VCRs, CD Players and DVD players

These “tossable” electronic devices pile up in recycling centers, in the back rooms of electronics retailers, and even in private homes. Yet they too contain printed circuit boards that contain precious gold that is worth extracting.

Older CB, Ham, and Shortwave Radios

Before the Internet age, hobbyists used them all to communicate with people in distant areas. Today, they have gone largely out of style. Yet they can still contain quantities of gold that can be reclaimed.

Two Ways to Collect Quantities of these Devices to Recycle

  • If you are a charity that is already conducting a collection campaign for used cellphones, ask people to contribute these items too.
  • If you would like to start a lucrative side business, run ads online or in local newspapers stating that you will buy the items described above.

Once you have a large quantity of any of this electronic scrap, give us a call at 800-426-2344 and we’ll be happy to explain how you can recover the gold that they contain.

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The Stampede from Desktops to Laptops to Tablets Leaves Gold Behind

You will get a lot of results if you search for the phrase “Can a tablet replace my laptop?” on Google or Bing. The question has recently been tackled in The New York Times, in PC World, on CNET, and dozens of other places. If you read those articles, you will find that opinions vary. Some reviewers feel that the time is not yet right to discard laptops in favor of tablets. Others write about new laptop/tablet “convertible” hybrids from HP, Samsung, and other makers that are essentially tablets with keyboards that either detach or fold cleverly out of the way.

Image of woman choosing tablet over laptop, which symbolizes the computer shift that will result in more recycling of old laptops for the precious metals they contain.

Computers are always evolving, and similar questions have arisen in the past. Ten years ago, it was “Can a laptop really replace a desktop machine?” And we all know how that question got resolved. So who could believe that laptops are the pinnacle of computer development, never to be replaced by something newer?

When new kinds of computers gain widespread acceptance, older machines get tossed and recycled in large numbers. Just peek at the place where electronics are recycled in your town or city – perhaps in your town dump. On a recent visit to my town’s, I noticed that not only desktops, but also laptops and other types of escrap were starting to pile up. And if you’ve been reading this blog, you already know that laptops contain valuable quantities of gold and other precious metals that can be worth reclaiming from their circuit boards, connectors, IC chips and other parts, using a top precious metals recycler.

Opportunities to Profit from the Trend

Because used laptops contain only a few dollars’ worth of gold and other precious metals, it takes a large number of them to add up to much – plus, there is the challenge of dismantling them to extract the parts that contain gold like circuit boards and contacts, pins and meltables.

Yet the fact remains that a very large number of laptops are about to be discarded in the coming years. If you can start a program to collect them, the dollars could really add up. If you are one of the following organizations, this could be a good time to start collecting laptops for later recycling . . .

  • If you are an electronics retailer, consider ramping up your trade-in program.
  • If you are an electronics manufacturer or wholesaler, provide incentives for retailers to accept trade-ins and return them to you.
  • If you are a church, charity or school, consider conducting a drive to collect laptops that are no longer needed.
  • If you are a hospital or healthcare facility that is about to replace older laptops and equipment that embodies them, start your own in-house recycling program.

Don’t Let Recycling Dollars Slip through Your Fingers

As the old saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Since each old laptop contains many pennies’ worth of gold, why toss them away? Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more about profitably recycling computer scrap.

Related Posts:

Where Is the Gold Hiding in Your Old Computers?
A Brief History of Circuit Boards and the Gold They Contain
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What Precious Metals Are Contained in Piles of Old Desktop Computers?


How Much Gold Can Be Recycled from Scrap Electronic Pins?

Old computer central processing units (CPUs) look like porcupines – they’re covered with little spikes that serve as electrical contacts when the CPU is plugged into a computer’s motherboard. The difference between a porcupine and a CPU is that all those little “quills” are gold-plated and can be worth sending to a qualified gold refinery for processing.

Photo of gold plated pins e-scrap sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

Photo of gold plated pins e-scrap sent to Specialty Metals by our customers for recycling and refining.

The more CPUs you have, the more pins you have . . . and the more gold you have too.

Removing the Gold-Plated Pins from Your CPUs

Here’s a video that shows a hobbyist using a heat gun to remove gold pins from CPUs. He’s using the same kind of heat gun that is used to strip paint – the kind you can buy at a hardware store.

Note that we are not recommending that you use a heat gun to remove gold pins from CPUs – it is something that should only be done by qualified technicians in a controlled, well-ventilated, laboratory setting. We are sharing this video to demonstrate that quantities of recyclable gold really do reside in older CPUs – and that if you have a number of older desktop computers or computer scrap, you could have more gold than you might realize.

How Much Gold Is in CPUs?

It varies, because many different kinds of CPUs have been used over the last few decades. There are ceramic CPU chips and silicon CPUs. But we’re pleased to offer you a ball park estimate of how much gold could be recovered from older CPU chips.

Roughly one troy ounce of gold can generally be recovered from 10 pounds of old CPUs

When you call us to 800-426-2344 to discuss your old CPUs, please do not expect us to promise to reclaim one ounce of gold from every 10 pounds of them that you send to us. We only provide that rough estimate above to convince you that it can be wasteful – and unprofitable – to discard older electronics, especially computers and the CPU boards that they contain. Why not call us to learn more?

Related Posts:

Where Is the Gold Hiding in Your Old Computers?

A Brief History of Circuit Boards and the Gold They Contain

Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos

What Precious Metals Are Contained in Piles of Old Desktop Computers?

Extracting Gold from Ceramic IC Chips

Is it Worth Recycling Smartphones?

How much precious metal is contained in smartphones? Is it worth sending them to us for recycling?

These recent statistics, reported by Megan Anderle in The Guardian on May 1, 2014, document the fact that smartphones contain quantities of precious metals. For every million smartphones that are recycled, these quantities of metals can be reclaimed:

Photo of old smartphones that contain gold, silver and palladium that can be recycled profitably in large quantities by Specialty Metals.

When you use those statistics as a guideline against current prices per troy ounce, you find that every smartphone contains about $1.40 worth of gold, about $.58 worth of palladium, and about $.20 worth of silver. (Of course, it costs money to reclaim those metals from smartphones and other electronics scrap too.)

How Many Smartphones Can You Collect and Recycle?

That’s not very much metal per phone. Yet Anderle also cites these statistics:

  • 89% of mobile devices are not recycled by their users, just tossed
  • In 2012, Sprint customers recycled 44% of their phones, Verizon customers recycled 28%, and AT&T customers recycled 11.5%
  • In 2013, Verizon launched a new recycling program and app that got 31% of its customers to recycle their phones

Is There an Opportunity for You in Smartphone Recycling?

If you would like to reclaim a significant amount of money from old smartphones, you will have to collect an awful lot of them. But can you do just that – collect a large number of older phones? Perhaps you can.

  • If you are a charity, perhaps you can start an outreach program to get people to donate their phones to you. As noted in the statistics above, 89% of mobile phone users toss their devices. Perhaps they can toss them into recycling bins that your organization places in stores, malls, before town halls, and elsewhere. If you spread your campaign over a large geographical area, you could be able to collect enough phones to raise a lot of money for your organization.
  • If you want to start a second or primary business, you might consider buying used cellphones and then recycling them. As Anderle notes in her Guardian article, cellphone companies’ buy-back recycling programs often present a number of hassles for customers, who have typically had to get their returns pre-approved, then print out labels to use when shipping their phones in, then wait weeks until the payment for their phones is credited to their accounts. If you can streamline that process – perhaps by letting customers sell you their used phones via a walk-in, no-hassle process – you might be able to amass enough smartphones to generate a good income.

When and if you do, contact Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners. We’ll be pleased to help you dig out the dollars that are hiding in a quantity of used cellphones and other escrap.

Related Posts:

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Recycling Silver Cadmium Oxide Scrap

When you think about recycling precious metals, you probably think first about gold, silver, and platinum. That’s good thinking. If you have items that contain those metals, you could be sitting on a lot of money.

Photo of silver cadmium scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for environmentally responsible recycling and refining.

Photo of silver cadmium scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for environmentally responsible recycling and refining.

But have you also stopped to ask whether the items you have on hand contain quantities of silver cadmium oxide? It is often overlooked – it is easy to overlook – but it can contain quantities of silver and cadmium that are quite valuable.

Where Can You Find Cadmium Silver Oxide?

Short answer. If you own almost any kind of electronic scrap, you probably own quantities of silver cadmium oxide. It is widely used in motors, switches, relays, and electrical contacts.

Why is Silver Cadmium Used in Electronic Devices?

Silver cadmium oxide is used because it possesses two seemingly contradictory positive traits. First, it is a very good conductor of electricity. Second, it is arc-resistant (it inhibits the tendency of electricity to arc between contacts when they are open). Those two traits make it an ideal material for use in switches and other applications, especially where high electrical loads are present.

What Will My Scrap Look Like?

Silver cadmium oxide can be found in old electrical-powered manufacturing equipment like motors, switches, relays, and brazed contact assemblies. But it is also found in materials that are used to manufacture those items – materials like silver-cadmium oxide wire, sheets, strips and tapes.

How Much Cadmium Is in My Scrap?

The answer is, it depends. Silver cadmium oxide contacts generally contain between 10% and 25% cadmium. How can you tell what you have? Send us a sample of what you have for testing. Call us at 800-426-2344 to learn more.

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What Precious Metals Are Contained in Piles of Old Desktop Computers?

If you are a school system, a city recycling center or a hospital, chances are that you have quantities of old scrap desktop computers – maybe several dumpsters full of them – that you would like to recycle.

Shown: scrap computers with circuit boards containing gold, platinum and other precious metals that can be recycled by Specialty Metals.

What do they contain? We just found a terrific breakdown of the materials that old desktops contain – everything from iron to plastics to gold and other precious metals in the printed circuit boards and connectors. It was created by the now-defunct Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) back in 1996. That year, you will recall, was in the golden age of desktop use.

Composition of typical Desktop Computer weighing ~27 kg.

According to MCC, "the following table presents the composition of a desktop computer plus a CRT screen in 1996. More than 80% of the weight consists of silica (glass), plastics, iron and aluminium. Precious and scarce materials account for only a small percentage of the total weight. Nevertheless, the concentration of such metals, e.g. gold, is higher in a desktop computer than found in naturally occurring mineral ore." (Source: Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC). 1996. Electronics Industry Environmental Roadmap. Austin, TX: MCC)

Can You Recycle Valuable Silver from CDs, DVDs, and the Drives that Read and Burn Them?

Do your old CDs and DVDs contain silver that is worth refining? And what about CD-ROM drives and similar drives that you’ve pulled from older computers?

Let’s take a closer look at what those items could be worth.

Shown: gold-bearing scrap CD-ROM drives with gold fingers and printed circuits that can be recycled by Specialty Metals.

Shown: gold-bearing scrap CD-ROM drives with gold fingers and printed circuits that can be recycled by Specialty Metals.

CDs and DVDs

Are extremely valuable quantities of silver layered onto your old CDs or DVDs? Instead of making you wait until the end of today’s post for the answer to that question, we’ll answer it now. The answer is no. Even though CDs and DVDs can contain amounts of silver that has been applied with sputtering target technology, the amount of silver there is simply too small to be worth recycling. (If blank CDs and DVDs cost only a few pennies each, how could it be any other way?)

But there is a colorful history about hobbyists who have tried to remove the metallic surface of those discs, and who even invented a way to do to it. They discovered that if they applied a layer of duct tape to the surface of a CD or DVD and then ripped it away (ouch!), the metallic surface of the disc could be removed from the clear plastic disc underneath. After doing that, the hobbyists then discovered that the metals they had extracted were not worth much, despite their efforts.

CD-ROM, DVD and Other Drives

Now we’re discussing something that is worth more. If you’ve got a lot of old scrapped computers that contain disc drives of various kinds – DVD drives, CD-ROM drives, dual drives for floppies and CDs, or even plain old floppy drives - you could be looking at electronics scrap that is more valuable and worth recycling.

The value in those drives resides in the printed circuit boards that they contain, which hold small quantities of gold in the “fingers” at their edges where cables attach. Also, if you pull apart an older drive and find that it contains a large green circuit board with gold embossed on its surface, that could be worth something too.

The Bottom Line Is . . .

It is not worth extracting silver from CDs, DVDs, and other digital media. But if you have significant quantities of printed circuit boards of any kind, you could have something that will be worth sending to us for analysis and refining. Call 800-426-2344 to learn more.

Related Posts:

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Do Tablet Computers Contain Recyclable Precious Metals
Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos

Will Precious Metals Disappear from Electronic Devices in the Coming Years?

In previous posts on this blog, we’ve discussed where to find gold in cellphones, computers, remote controls, and other electronic devices.  They all contain printed circuit boards that contain gold. But here’s an interesting question. As more advanced electronic devices come to market, will they still use gold, or will that stop? Are we now in a “golden age” when gold recycling from electronic devices can still be done – an age that will end?

Enter Graphene, a Miraculous Substance

Shown: Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Image Credit: AlexanderAIUS, via Wikimedia Commons

Shown: Graphene is an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms. Image Credit: AlexanderAIUS, via Wikimedia Commons

A lot of “miracle” materials have appeared over the last century. There were nylon, Orlon and Teflon, to name only three. But the miraculous properties of those materials is dwarfed by those of graphene, a material that was developed by two physicists named Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselow. Graphene is actually a very thin, one-atom-thick layer of the same kind of graphite that is used in pencils.

Graphene has a lot of unbelievable properties that make it sound like something out of a science fiction fable. But first let’s state why it will probably revolutionize the manufacturing of electronic devices:

Graphene is an incredibly efficient conductor of electricity.

According to some estimates that I’ve read, it conducts electricity 20 times faster than copper does. It conducts electricity so well, in fact, the engineering challenge appears to be getting it to stop conducting electricity, not to improve its performance. And as you’ll discover when you read the following, graphene has the potential to create sci-fi-like electronic devices, like paper-thin cellphones that will fold up and fit in your wallet.

Here are some of graphene’s properties that are described in recent articles on CNN and elsewhere:

It can be manufactured in films that are only one atom thick – one ounce of the stuff could cover 28 football fields. It has been called “the world’s first two-dimensional substance.”

It is remarkably strong – according to some estimates, 20 times stronger than steel, but far lighter. People are predicting that it will soon find its way into structural parts of airplanes and cars.

It’s going to find applications in electrical devices – Scientists have already made electronic speakers, batteries, and other devices from the material. Now ultra-small microcircuits are being developed that will take advantage of its thinness and conductivity. Scientists envision that electronic devices like computers will be built into electronic clothing – there will be no need to tote around a separate laptop, cellphone or GPS device.

Development is happening fast – graphene could start to appear in commercial electronic devices in only a few years. 

What Will Graphene Mean for Gold Recycling?

We don’t have the ability to see the future, of course, but graphene has the potential to create electronic devices that incorporate a number of electronic circuits that once had to be connected together. That’s why it seems probable that today’s circuit boards will become outmoded.

Your old electronic devices will not become collectibles, but as escrap they will be valuable for the gold that they contain that can be recycled profitably by a qualified gold refiner.  What do you have lying around?

Related Posts:

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On Earth Day, Let’s Agree to Recycle Metals Responsibly

When you think about handling and recycling metals responsibly, chances are that you think about environmental laws. If you’re complying with all federal and state laws regarding disposal of materials, then you’ve got your bases covered, right?

This Earth Day, Specialty Metals wants to remind you to recycle your precious metals like silver cadmium responsibly.

Well, not completely. Obeying laws is wonderful, but we need to be vigilant, not merely compliant, to be sure we are not doing environmental damage.

Silver Cadmium: A Case in Point

Silver cadmium is an alloy that is widely used in welding and in the fabrication of electrical components. It conducts electricity well, but its greatest value resides in its usefulness in brazing. When silver and cadmium are combined to make brazing rods, the result is a product that has a relatively low melting point, making it easy to work with.

The problem? When silver cadmium materials are used in brazing, they release noxious gases that can put your employees’ health in jeopardy. Whether you’ve got robotic operations taking place or your employees are doing the brazing at close range, they’re in danger unless your facilities are not just adequately, but aggressively ventilated. Adhering to environmental laws is a good baseline but if you really want to protect people, you’ve got to go above and beyond to make sure they are safe.

Recycling Silver Cadmium Responsibly

Photo of silver cadmium scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for environmentally responsible recycling and refining.

Photo of silver cadmium scrap that customers have shipped to Specialty Metals for environmentally responsible recycling and refining.

Then we come to the issue of recycling silver cadmium. It is a big concern. When you send your unused quantities of silver cadmium to be recycled and refined – those unused ends of welding rods and wire, electrical contacts or silver cadmium strips or powder, depending on your industry – you want to be sure that they will be recycled responsibly. When those materials are smelted and refined, they again release poisonous gases that can harm people and the environment too.

Many precious metals recycling companies will accept silver cadmium for refining and recycling. But before you use their services, we’d like you to be aware that Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners, the best secondary refiner of precious metals in the US, is one of the very few refiners in the world that is fully equipped to recycle silver cadmium scrap safely and responsibly.

Earth Day is a good time for all of us who work with metals to renew our commitment to the environment. We’ve made a lot of progress in improving the quality of our air, water, and soil. Future generations are counting on us to keep up the good environmental fight today.

Related Posts:

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Watch the Gold You Can Recycle from Circuit Boards Pile Up in these Videos

You’ve heard that gold can be recovered from used printed circuit boards and other computer components? That’s certainly true, but until you see gold being removed from escrap, it can seem a little academic.

So get ready to watch. Here are three of the better videos we’ve found on YouTube.

An Amateur Uses Snippers and Scissors to Dig Out the Gold

In this video, an amateur removes a surprising quantity of gold from computer scrap in a very short period of time.

Removing Gold from Older Computer Scrap

An enthusiastic computer recycler explains where to find gold in older computer components.

Snipping the Gold Pins from Green Fiber CPUs

Another computer recycler – again, very enthusiastic – demonstrates how to pull the gold pins from green fiber CPU boards and memory chips, using just a heat gun and a pair of pliers.

One Caveat for You . . .

You will also find a number of videos online that show amateur computer “scrappers” who are using acids and strong chemicals to process and extract the gold from circuit boards and other electronic components. Following the advice on these videos can be a very hazardous thing to do, exposing you to dangerous fumes as well as the risk of getting burned or starting a fire.

You need a highly qualified gold refinery to safely smelt and refine gold from used electronics components and computer scrap. As the old expression goes, do not try this at home.

Related Posts:

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Where Are Precious Metals Hiding in Junked Cars?

While I was riding a commuter train into New York City the other day, I looked out the window and saw a junkyard that was full of dozens of cars. They were stacked high, one on top of another. I am sure that the owner of that junkyard had pulled the catalytic convertors from them. After all, removing a catalytic converter is a simple job that can be done in just a few minutes, using a small cutoff saw or chain cutter.

Junked cars contain more precious metals than just platinum in catalytic converters, including gold in circuit boards that Specialty Metals can recycle.

Junked cars contain more precious metals than just platinum in catalytic converters, including gold in circuit boards that Specialty Metals can recycle.

But what about other precious metals in those junkers? Had the owner of that yard done the tougher job of removing other components that could contain valuable quantities of recyclable gold and other precious metals? It’s not easy to remove some of those components. It means crawling around with a crowbar and other tools, which is not pleasant. But if you own a number of older junked cars, it’s a task that can reward you with significant quantities of precious metals – gold especially – that can be worth a lot of money.

Where Can You Find those Precious Metals You Can Recycle?

Precious metals are found in any car components that include circuit boards, which typically have gold-plated contact “fingers” at their edges where connectors slide on.

The car’s computers. The mother lode of automotive eScrap - printed circuits in cars - can be found in the computers that control engine and other functions. These computers are called by different names, such as the powertrain control module (PCM) and the engine control unit (ECU). These onboard computers monitor emission controls, antilock brakes (ABS), fuel injection, ignition timing, turbocharger boost, transmission shifting, and other engine functions. These units are not difficult to remove. Locations vary, but they are usually housed under the dashboard on the passenger’s side of the vehicle.

Other electronic devices. Printed circuit boards are found in many places in modern cars – in audio systems, CD changers, electronic displays and navigation systems, for example. The circuit boards they contain are usually found right where those devices are located, and can be removed with hand or light power tools. If the cars you’re recycling have CD changers that are located in their trunks, you may find circuit boards there too.

And What about Recycling Airbags?

There has been a lot of buzz about the gold that is contained in automotive airbags. The largest of these passive restraints are typically installed in steering wheels, but they are now found in the passenger’s side of the dashboard, in the sides of seats, and around windows if “curtain style” restraints have been built into the car. Yes, these devices typically contain small quantities of gold. But removing and recycling airbags is dangerous. If a battery is still connected to a car’s electrical system – and even if it is not - the bag could inflate violently and cause serious injury if you start to tamper with it. There’s also the fact that airbags contain sodium azide, a volatile powder that detonates and causes airbags to inflate. So the best plan is to stay away from airbags and passive restraints and to concentrate on removing the printed circuits from the places described above.

Do You Have a Quantity of Automotive Circuit Boards to Recycle?

After you extract and set aside a quantity of several hundred circuit boards from older cars, call Specialty Metals Smelters & Refiners at 800-426-2344 and tell us what you have. We’ll be happy to help you get top dollar from them.

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Do Tablet Computers Contain Recyclable Precious Metals?

Not too many years ago, used desktop computers were piled up high in town dumps and in dumpsters. Next came used laptops. And now older tablet computers are starting to pile up too.

Do tablets contain significant quantities of gold and other precious metals that can be extracted by precious metals refineries? Here’s the story.

Tablet Computers Contain Precious Metals like Gold

Image of used, broken tablet computer containing gold and precious metals that can be recycled profitably by best gold refiners Specialty Metals.

Tablet computers contain quantities of gold, silver, platinum and palladium – just as all devices that use printed circuit boards do. Tablets, however, usually contain smaller quantities of precious metals. That’s because they do not have hard drives, Ethernet or phone ports, and other devices that are standard on laptops.

If you have a quantity of several hundred used tablets or more that you’d like to recycle profitably, how can you tell what their precious metals are worth? First call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to tell us about the quantity of scrap computer tablets you have on hand. At that point, we may ask you to send one or two tablets to us for analysis.

Opportunity: The Number of Used Tablets Is about to Surge

Apple launched the first iPad in 2010. As of October, 2013, the company had sold 170 million of them. Then there are all the tablets that have been sold by Amazon, Samsung, and other companies. According to data collected by Gigaom.com, 25% of all computers sold today are tablets.

All those tablets will soon start to outlive their useful life. The lesson? If you are an electronics retailer, a town recycling center, or another organization that is able to collect used electronic scrap devices, now would be a good time to start an eScrap trade-in or recycling program that encourages people to give their older tablets to you. Then get ready to accept a growing number of old tablets in the months and years ahead.

Your Two-Step Program for Profitable Tablet Computer Recycling

First, find a way to collect quantities of used tablets. Depending on the nature of your business, you could encourage trade-ins or donations.

Second, find the best precious metals refiners to extract the gold and other metals that they contain.

Consider Using Manufacturers’ Recycling Programs Too

Amazon accepts Kindle trade-ins and Apple has a similar program for recycling used iPads. If your main objective is recycling used tablets without getting paid for the precious metals that they contain, programs like those are worth considering.

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