The Precious Metals Inside of Your Electronics
At your fingertips are gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, four precious metals that are the nuts and bolts of modern electronics. You might be wondering why such valuable metals are being used in your electronics, and the reason is because these metals are great conductors of electricity. Gold is known for its corrosion resistance, silver has superior conductivity, and platinum is known for its hardness. Let’s dig a little deeper into each one.
Don’t Get Too Excited, These Metals Are Scarce
Okay, we know we may have gotten you a little too excited in the first paragraph, so we’ll set the story straight here. Volume is key: the amount of any given metal in a single device is scarce. It takes a large volume of devices, or of component parts like RAM to accumulate enough gold, silver, and palladium or other rare metals to see a decent payoff from it.
What Is Old IT Hardware Worth?
There are three ways that a retired device can find value in a new life: resale of the whole device, resale of its parts, or resale of the material once it has been shredded. It mostly depends on its condition, how modern its components are, storage, and RAM capacity, as well as a few other factors. A scrapped, shredded laptop may end up being worth about $10 per pound of material and potentially more if it is an older device that contains more gold. Newer generation devices typically contain less due to advancements in technology and efforts to reduce production costs.
Recovery of Precious Metals
The recovery of these precious metals is no small issue. The dismantling process may recover only 50% of this precious metal, and potentially exposes workers to a wide range of hazardous substances. The current recovery rates of e-waste for processing are quite small mostly because not enough devices find their way to recyclers, and for the ones that do, not enough metals are recovered from those devices.
Always Recycle Your E-Waste
While it takes a few extra steps, disposing of e-waste properly and safely is of the utmost importance. It costs less and is significantly less damaging to the environment than it is to mine electronics. Plus, the heavy metals, batteries, and other materials in electronic devices are often toxic and can contaminate groundwater near landfills if they are disposed of in regular waste, which becomes a human health risk to the surrounding community.
Before throwing out your old electronics, call RAKI Electronics Recycling. We specialize in secure data destruction and e-waste recycling so you don’t have to! Give us a call today to get started.