Getting Rid Of Old Computers? Pick Out The Valuable Scrap!

8 December 2015
 Categories: Industrial & Manufacturing, Blog


Whether you're tossing out a decade-old system for a much faster upgrade or changing models after slight change that you absolutely must have, there's a few valuable materials inside computers that would be better recycled than carelessly thrown out. To understand what could be recycled and what you likely have in your system, take a look at a few computer scrap metal and material salvaging tips.

Aluminum Salvaging Points

Aluminum is used in multiple areas of the computer and its components. The main case, smaller component cases and heat sinks are the easiest scrapping areas, so get to them first.

The computer case can be removed with a few simple Phillips (cross-tip) screw twists, although some may have even easier fasteners that can be turned by hand without tools. There may be some plastic on the outer shell, but aluminum sheet metal can be pulled away and bent for easier storage. These outer layers are not the end of the aluminum case scrapping.

A frame of aluminum gives the computer its shape and includes shelves and mounting points for different devices. The frame of the case may be harder to break down due to a few angled corners, but the standard rectangular computer is easy enough to stack into a convenient location.

Some computer models may be made of steel instead of aluminum, so be sure to test the metal with a magnet. Remember: aluminum is nonmagnetic.

Heat sinks are solid aluminum or copper blocks with fins cut into the outer surface. The fins are usually only on one surface of the aluminum, except for in some advanced configurations for better cooling. Copper heat sinks are also limited to high-performance or custom machines, and not part of the mass-produced computer inventory unless specifically asked for or personally replaced.

Hard Drive Recyclable Materials

The hard drive (also known as the Hard Disk Drive or HDD) is used for information storage, and is often protected by an aluminum case. The weight can be deceptive, as much of the weight comes from the glass-like platters inside.

A hard drive is like a record player in that it uses a voice coil arm to read across the platters. Instead of using a needle that moves through record grooves, a magnetic head reads or changes the position of data on the platters.

These arms are supported by rare earth magnets instead of screws, which are valuable to the recycling industry and magnet hobbyists alike. It's worth noting that the newer storage drives on the market--Solid State Drives, or SSDs--do not have rare earth magnets. Although SSDs are newer and a popular upgrade to HDDs due to their speed, HDDs are still used for their affordability per size when compared to SSDs. They may not be the faster, but they're still fast enough for most computer users.

For more information, contact Scrap Metal Processors Inc or a similar company.