Recovering Precious Metals from Computers and Electronics Equipment in California
Today’s desktop, portable and handheld computer and digital equipment, along with a wide variety of consumer electronics devices, are complex. Containing hundreds of components, they also contain precious and valuable metals. Even though these metals occur in very small quantities in most devices, they are wasted if proper recycling operations don’t recover them. That waste becomes clear when you realize that over 320 tons of gold and 7,500 tons of silver go into manufacturing electronic products every year. Recovering the value of that gold and silver, along with other valuable metals, through proper recycling has become a global business. We are literally mining our e-waste and re-using those metals. It is estimated that it costs up to 75% less energy to recover metals through recycling than through mining the ores that contain them. This recovery process occurs both in the United States and overseas, and creates jobs and improves local economies, while saving energy and reducing the need for extensive and destructive mining operations. Some of the metals recovered from computers and other electronic devices include:
- Gold – Due to its very high electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion, gold is used to plate other metals to ensure excellent connections on circuit boards, sockets, switches, and in computer and other chips. The quantity is small in each device, but gold’s extremely high value makes recovery economical.
- Silver – Another excellent conductor, silver is used in many ways in electronics equipment and computers. This valuable metal can be recovered for reuse through modern recycling technology.
- Copper – Copper is the most common metal found in all electronics. It is used in wiring, connectors, and many other components. Although its value is lower than gold and silver, the sheer quantity present in most devices makes recovering copper a major part of computer recycling operations.
- Platinum and Palladium – Although these two precious metals don’t appear in all electronics equipment, they are present in some devices and can be recovered for reuse through recycling.
- Rare Metals and Elements – Individual components, chips, and other parts of most electronics also contain valuable materials. Rare-earth elements, such as neodymium, dysprosium, yttrium, tantalum, and others occur in individual components, magnets, displays and other parts of cell-phones, computers, and a wide variety of other electronic devices. Recovering these materials, which normally are sourced from mines in China, is a rapidly growing part of computer technology recycling.
- Other Metals – From aluminum and zinc to stainless steel, cobalt and nickel, recycling computers, peripherals and consumer electronics devices is a great source of these metals. Every pound of metal recovered saves money over producing metals through mining and refining.
Recycling Computers and Technology Is Good Business in California
Recovering valuable resources from discarded and obsolete computer equipment, handheld devices, and consumer electronics equipment is a growing industry. As new techniques are developed to reclaim and reuse metals and other materials, new jobs are created. A thriving economy has grown around this industry. By taking your old hardware, peripherals, and other electronics devices to one of the recycling companies listed on our website, you’ll be contributing to American jobs and protecting California’s natural environment. You’ll also benefit by regaining space in your home or business that is taken up by unwanted and unused items. It’s a win-win situation for everyone.