Don't throw that old computer away just yet! Whether it's too old to run the latest programs or too broken to be worth repairing, throwing away the entire unit is throwing away more than just the purchase. You can make some money back if you recycle the materials, and separating the materials can give you a lot more leverage at a scrap metal buyer. Here are a few scrap metal and spare component points that are usually worth the effort to recycle.
Aluminum Recycling Areas
Aluminum is usually the first metal that you'll encounter. Even in computers that seem to be made of plastic, the case panels and chassis are usually made of folded aluminum. This gives strength and standardized protection for the internal components while still being an affordable material for mass market production.
You can take apart the cases with just a few tools, although many will only require a screwdriver. Some cases use rivets, which will require a rivet popper/rivet remover or a similar cutting tool. Other cases may simply have sliding tabs to augment bolts and/or rivets.
Inside the computer, many components come with aluminum encasing. Optical drives such as CD, DVD, and Blu-ray drives have aluminum cases with plastic face plates, and hard drives have a thicker aluminum case secured with screws.
Magnets And Other Special Materials
The hard drive brings up a small warning when recycling metals for their weight. Hard drives are deceptively heavy because of the platters inside, which may seem to be metal. Solid metal is not used inside modern hard drives; it's more efficient to use a glass-like silicate platter with a proprietary metal and/or mineral substrate (a light spraying with trace materials) to create a metal-like shine.
If you manage to find a hard drive that has metal platters, close it carefully and start contacting museums. They're not rare and ancient yet, but collectors will be more interested than basic aluminum melting operations.
For the substrate-sprayed platters, ask scrap metal buyers if they can identify the surface used and whether the metals are useful to them. Cobalt-Chromium-Platinum alloys, Ruthenium alloys, and Cobalt-Nickel-Iron alloys are some of the more common substrate types.
One guaranteed recycling piece is the cluster of rare earth magnets inside hard drives. These hard drives are small, strong, and highly sought after by hobbyists. That said, you need to know the difference between a hard drive (officially hard disk drive or HDD) and a solid state drive (SSD).
The term hard drive is often used incorrectly to describe any kind of storage inside the computer. This was fine until SSDs entered the home computer building market. SSDs are not new to computers, as many consumer electronics with stored information used solid state storage in some sort of customized shape.
If you remember the days of Apple iPods, Rio MP3 players, Microsoft Zune players, and other devices that replaced CD and tape players, that's what SSD technology is about. The ability to be built in any size and shape, but with limited read and write capabilities compared to a hard disk. They're also less sensitive to impact and shock force, especially compared to a hard drive platter that can be scratched.
There's no moving parts inside an SSD, and no magnets to recycle. If you think there may be some metals inside your SSD-built systems, contact a team of scrap metal buyers to have a closer look and to get offers for what you have on hand.
For more information, visit sites like http://www.bigdaddyscrap.com.