Not every recyclable metal, mineral, or other material follows the same recycling rates. Prices vary all of the time and may not be consistent between materials, sometimes meaning that the price of a full computer unit may not always match the value of what is inside. Keep an eye on the following materials and their locations in computers to know what needs to be scrapped if individual prices are better.
Rare Earth Magnets Inside Hard Drives
Hard drives are a part of almost every consumer computer, from laptops to desktops. They're not to be mistaken for the new Solid State Drive (SSD) that is slowly making its way into the market, and although SSDs are positioning themselves as replacements to storage technology, the platter-based hard drive hasn't left the market yet.
If you're not sure how to tell the difference, hard drives are more dense and sturdy to the touch than SSDs. Hard drives have a lot of easily-scratched materials inside that move at high speeds and require rigid protection, while SSDs have simple, low-cost wafer boards that require less protection in most computers. It's not impossible to find SSDs in more sturdy enclosures, and relatives to SSD technology already exist in many other electronics. However, most consumer computers still have hard drives in hard enclosures.
Rare earth magnets are valuable, but not always in a straightforward way to the recycling center. As a raw material, rare earth magnets provide unique challenges when it comes to cost-effective recycling. If more resources are consumed than recyclable resources reclaimed, it's not an effective process. For you, this means that you'll need to find electronic equipment recycling professionals who can cater to these recycling needs.
It's not hard to get to the magnets; hard drive disassembly reveals the magnets after a few outer case screws and the movement of precision arms. These magnets are used instead of screws.
Bulk Materials for Quick Stockpiling
Are prices good enough for you at the moment? Would you prefer to melt down materials into bricks or bullion until prices are better? Here's a few of the more common materials found in decent weight. Spoiler alert: gold isn't one of them.
- Aluminum. Aluminum is one of the first metals you'll run into. Most cases are made of aluminum, even if there's plastic covering the outside for design. Panels can be removed for flat, efficient surface, but the aluminum frame is usually supported by folded aluminum kept in place by screws, rivets or tabs. The heat sink is also often made of aluminum.
- Copper. Copper is another material used for heat sinks. These thick blocks are used to draw heat away from vital components such as the processor. Be careful when removing, as the fins can slice with just a light drag across the skin.
- Steel. Steel is usually an alternative to aluminum for rugged computer cases, but is also used for some hard drive/solid state drive enclosures.
If you're not sure about current recycling rates, contact electronic equipment recycling professionals to discuss what may be in need and what would be worth your time for removal.