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What Are the Best Tips for Computer Circuit Board Recycling?

Though it is possible to perform computer circuit board recycling at home, it is generally not recommended.
Finding a recycling center that specializes in electronics can help you recycle your entire computer, including the circuit board.
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  • Written By: C.B. Fox
  • Edited By: Susan Barwick
  • Last Modified Date: 12 November 2014
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Advancements in computer technology have given people and businesses access to faster, smaller, and more powerful computers each year. This means that computers and their components are often discarded every few years as they become obsolete. Most of the components in a computer or other electronic device are non-biodegradable, which means that if they are thrown out with the trash, they will remain in a landfill indefinitely. Computer circuit board recycling is important because it reduces the amount of landfill and provides materials that can be used to make other things. Recycling circuit boards isn't difficult, though it is impractical to recycle them at home.

Individuals looking to recycle their old computer circuit boards, should start by contacting a recycling center that specializes in the recycling of electronics. These can be found in developed nations all over the world. In developing nations, computers are often stripped for precious metals by individuals looking to make extra income, and it may be difficult to recycle electronics, such as circuit boards, properly. In most cases, however, electronic components are sent to recycling centers through the mail. By spending a little extra money on postage, people living far away from circuit board recycling centers can make sure that their electronics are recycled properly.

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In many cases, computer circuit board recycling can be done through a country's post office. The device simply needs to be placed in a special envelope, which can be found at the post office, and then dropped in a mailbox. No postage is usually necessary.

In places where computer circuit board recycling cannot be done through the post office, it may be necessary to locate a specialty recycling center. Once a recycling center that accepts circuit boards is located, these components can be mailed in or dropped off in person. In most cases, the board is simply accepted for recycling, though the center may also require a small fee along with it or may pay the person a small fee for the board.

Though it is possible to perform computer circuit board recycling at home, this is not recommended. Most people who recycle circuit boards only focus on removing the precious metals from the device, which can be done through the use of highly toxic, corrosive chemicals or by burning the board, which creates a great deal of pollution. This type of computer circuit board recycling is a problem in developing nations, where people routinely put their lives in danger to extract an inconsequential amount of gold or copper. The amount of metal in a single circuit board is not worth extracting, so individuals looking to recycle their electronics should leave it to people who process large quantities of boards and properly recycle the plastics and other materials used in them.

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