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A Guide to Recycling Electronic Components

A Guide to Recycling Electronic Components

Do you have any spare or old electronic parts lying around? Or perhaps you’re curious about what happens to a phone when it is recycled? Many of a gadget’s components can be recycled and re-used, helping to reduce e-waste a little more every time. But not only that, some components can even be valuable to extract and sell. This post will address recycling electronic components, which parts are eligible, the process for recycling, and whether it is better to recycle the whole gadget or its parts individually.

Which parts of a gadget can be recycled?

We think of electronics as holistic devices so we’re sometimes not aware of what they are comprised of. Around 80% of a phone is recyclable for instance, so even if you have spare parts lying around, chances are they can be recycled. Specifically, the following parts can be recycled:

  • Batteries – Most gadget batteries are made from Lithium Ion, and are recycled in an oxygen-free mechanical process that separates it into its core elements of cobalt and lithium salt concrete, stainless steel, copper, aluminium and plastic.
  • Bezel – the bezel of a gadget refers to any metal, plastic or other materials covering the exterior that doesn’t include its glass screen. These can be very valuable to sell, but by recycling you are also doing your bit in helping to be eco-friendlier!
  • PCB boards (main boards) – these are the parts of electronics that look like a maze of wires and metal buttons, and they can be re-used if the materials are effectively extracted.
  • Memory chips – any gadget with a memory chip has the potential to be valuable. When extracted, materials that can be yielded include mercury, lead, iron, silver and even gold.

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What is the process for recycling electronic components?

The method of recycling components varies from place to place and company to company, but there is a general procedure to follow:

  1. Collection – once you’ve agreed on a price for your old electronics or electronic components with the recycling company, you will then send them off.
  2. Shredding – your electronic devices and components are shredded into small pieces to allow for more precise separation its components.
  3. Sorting and separating – a powerful magnet can separate any valuable metals from waste streams on a conveyor, allowing the useful materials to be reused/sold in the future.

Is it better to sell electronic components separately or as a whole?

We often overlook the value of electronic devices because we’re so accustomed to them being in our lives; yet they can be worth a good amount to sell.

However, the debate remains on whether it’s better to take apart an old gadget and sell its components separately, or to sell it whole. We believe in the latter for a couple of reasons:

  • Security – take your phone, for instance. It may be old, but you could still have data stored on it. Your ability to remove old data will depend on the phone and its operating system , but if you take apart your phone you can’t be sure that your files won’t end up somewhere else.
  • Convenience – you could earn more overall by selling parts individually, but sometimes it is too much hassle. The time taken to find buyers, haggle a price and organise everything could render the potential return worthless, in our opinion. And that’s if you find a buyer in the first place.

So, your best bet is not to recycle electronic components and sell the whole device through a recycling company (like Recyclezone). We will make the process quick and easy for you, and there’s no need to worry about subpar conditions either - we will still buy them if they’re damaged!