Is Computer Recycling Worth The Time And Effort?
If your computer is too old to keep up with the latest games, productivity programs, or multimedia demands, it may not be worth selling to someone else. Fixing it may be too expensive, or you're just not interested in going through the additional effort when getting a new computer seems easier. Don't throw it out just yet! There's some money left inside those old desktop towers, laptops, and even smartphones. Here are a few desktop and laptop recycling points to help you figure out what's worth scrapping:
Aluminum And Copper Scrapping
Of the many recyclable materials inside computers, aluminum and copper stand out as the most plentiful. Aluminum makes up the chassis/case beneath the plastic case design, and copper is used as both an electrical transfer material and a cooling material.
If you can't store computer cases by simply stacking them due to space constraints, they can be taken apart with a few simple tools. Most cases are held together with screws (and very rarely a set of washers or nuts that require a screwdriver and pliers or a wrench). Some cases use rivets for quick installation and require a rivet remover/rivet popper, while other cases use sliding tabs that just need to be pulled at the right angles.
When tearing apart any computer, have a pair of working gloves ready. Anti-tear/anti-cut gloves are great when you have to grab sharp edges or pull thin metals that may become sharp when they tear apart. This is especially true when working with heat sinks, as they are razor thin at the top for most models.
Aluminum is the most common heat sink material, though more heat sinks used for high-performance systems such as gaming computers will include copper heat sinks. Some systems even have a hybrid copper and aluminum interlocking heat sink with separate parts of each material joined by fusing or tabs--not as a mixture/alloy.
Bringing Recycling Down To Laptop Size
Most materials inside desktop computers are also inside laptops, and although the amount is smaller, it's still worth your time.
One notable recycling point is the heat sink and cooling management system inside laptops. Laptop/notebook computers achieve their smaller size and comparable performance by shrinking powerful components, and although many of the components are far more efficient than their desktop counterparts per inch, heat is still a big issue.
Heat sinks are bigger and more involved in laptops than in desktops. The actual heat sink component is smaller, but it's attached to a series of pipes that both move air and draw heat away from the heat sink and cooled components.
There are also multiple heat sinks inside laptops, as components such as the northbridge and southbridge are hot enough in compact spaces to be a problem. The multiple heat sinks can add up to about as much metal as a desktop computer's stock cooling system, but there's no guarantee that the heat sinks will be copper along with the pipe system.
Contact a laptop, desktop, and general computer recycling professional like Ranch Town Recycling Center Inc. to discuss other recyclable materials inside your computer, such as rare earth magnets inside hard drives or power supply unit contents.