Do You Have Circuit Boards or Computer Components You Can Sell?

There is a great deal of satisfaction that comes with “going green” and recycling your computer components, or circuit boards with a recycling company, but did you know you can also make some extra money by choosing to take on this type of endeavor?

Examples of Computer Parts Used for Recycling

Some computer components that are used for recycling include the following:

  • Motherboards
  • High grade boards
  • Mid-grade and Low-grade boards
  • Silver and gold memory
  • Gold plated connectors
  • Mixed fiber and ceramic processors
  • PC towers (or the complete computer)
  • An incomplete PC tower
  • Complete and incomplete laptops
  • Whole and incomplete servers
  • Digital satellite receivers
  • Switches and routers
  • Cell phone (without he battery)
  • AC adapters with the wire
  • Keyboard, mice, and similar computer peripherals

You can also receive money for scrap aluminum at the same place you sell recycled computer parts. Usually, the components sold are purchased on a per pound basis and most of the time, you can obtain information concerning pricing online.  Please note, as a seller, however, you are typically responsible for any shipping costs.

Selling Other Peoples’ E-Waste

While recycling electronics may not have occurred to you before, you can make both a substantial difference in your pocket, and in the environment when you sell what is known as E-Waste. The term E-Waste is just another name for electronic waste. Due to the fact, people constantly are buying new electronics, there is a pretty viable market.

You can start this type of venture by asking friends and family if they have electronics they no longer use sitting around their house. Most people will be ecstatic that you are taking a clunky old monitor or desktop computer off their hands.

A Great Potential Money-making Opportunity

Besides individuals, you can also ask companies, universities, or schools for old computer equipment – items that are no longer wanted or used. When you think about the potential money you can make by taking on this initiative, you will want to start making phone calls right away.

In fact, most people do not know that almost every part of a computer can be re-purposed, from the plastic in the electronic device to the metal, glass, and mother board. Other recyclable items include:

  • The computer’s memory
  • Gold connector pins
  • Hard drives
  • Computer chips
  • Copper wiring
  • The silver or platinum parts in a computer
  • The computer’s batteries

While a motherboard, computer case, or computer chips can be sold online on such sites as Craigslist or EBay, you can sell the other parts—such as the metal and plastic—to a recycler. Again, you are normally paid by the pound for the components and materials.

Once you start collecting E-Waste, you will find certain parts are more valuable than others. Anything that is made of metals such as: gold, platinum, or silver will fetch a higher price. For example, you can detach solid gold or gold-plated connector pins from components and sell them to a metals refiner for processing.

How to Obtain eWaste on a Regular Basis

Besides asking your friends and families about their stash of old electronics, you can also use the follow methods for obtaining the materials:

Offer to Haul Away Old Electronic Scraps Free of Charge

Naturally, any free offer will get people moving. Therefore, you can advertise your service on Craigslist or through advertisement mediums such as the local classifieds. You can also get a response by leaving flyers at people’s doors or at yard sales. If you do charge a fee to dispose of the E-Waste, it is better to offer this service to businesses.  The electronics at a business are normally more voluminous, a company is usually more than happy to pay you to pick up and recycle its junk.

Host a Recycling Drive

Lastly, you can gather old electronics by hosting a recycling drive. Advertise on Craigslist or alert the public through your local media and social media.

While this type of business can start off small, you might be surprised. You might turn it into a full-time enterprise!


UPS Battery Backups and Recycling: What You Need to Know

Ever wonder how UPS batteries are disposed of when they are no longer used?  Let’s start with what exactly is a UPS.  The term UPS, stands for an “uninterruptible power supply/source,” and is a battery or flywheel backup that provides emergency power to a load when the electrical power fails. Unfortunately, UPS batteries are not everlasting, they eventually run out of power and must be reclaimed. Therefore, they must be recycled in accordance with federal regulations.

Federal regulations require the proper recycling of gel cells, batteries, lead-acid batteries and UPS battery backups.  According to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Mercury-containing and Rechargeable Battery Management Act, recycling is promoted to reduce the number of hazardous toxins in ground water and landfills.

Recycling is a Requirement

This is precisely why you need to recycle UPS battery backups when they are no longer needed. UPS batteries contain toxic chemicals, and must be recycled to adhere to federal mandates. During the process, the battery acid is neutralized and the lead is extracted so it can be used in new products. Any parts of the battery that cannot be used, follow safe disposal methods.

UPS battery backups are found in a number of electronics and power supplies, including telecom power systems, generator power equipment, backup power supplies, DC power systems, and certain pieces of industrial equipment.

How UPS Batteries Operate

When the batteries are recycled, they often are packed in bulk. As large companies may use the batteries, recycling becomes a matter of necessity when the battery backups are completely used. Much like the batteries that power automobiles, UPS batteries store electricity that uses a reverse chemical reaction that employs lead-acid. When this occurs, the negative and positive plates are suspended in water and sulfuric acid, known as an electrolyte.

Therefore, UPS battery backups work in a cycle of regular charging and discharging. If the battery is running low, the process can be reversed by recharging it. However, you can only charge a battery so many times. At a certain point, the component simply will fail.

A Highly Recycled Product

Fortunately, for environmentalists, UPS batteries are recycled a great deal. In fact, about 98% of all lead-acid type batteries were recycled between the years of 2009 and 2013. This type of recycle rate is higher than any other industrial or consumer product, including the recycling of glass bottles, newspapers, aluminum cans, and car tires.

Once UPS battery backups are detached and submitted to a recycler, the lead and plastic components are reclaimed, using stringent guidelines. Generally, the battery is first crushed into small pieces before being separated individually. The recycled plastic is used for the manufacture of new plastic goods, including automotive parts and plastic wheels. The lead, on the other hand, is delivered to manufacturers or industrial facilities.

How the Lead is Used

Lead recycled from UPS battery backups offers multiple uses, including the manufacture of nuclear shielding, new batteries, television screens, roofing materials, and military ammunition.

Endless Recycling

The recycling of lead from UPS batteries is so successful that 80% of new lead-acid batteries are made of recycled plastic and lead. Also, this type of process can continue. Therefore, a newly-made battery created from old components, can be recycle repeatedly.

An Equitable Trade-off

The recycling process that is used to reclaim UPS battery back-ups or lead-acid batteries not only enables the repurposing of batteries, it safeguards the planet from toxic contamination. Therefore, it is against the law in the US to dispose of lead-acid type batteries in the trash. In fact, most state laws mandate that an old battery must be recycled for each new battery that is sold by retailers.

An Easy Disposal Method for Recycling

Fortunately, most people or businesses can dispose of an old battery rather easily. That is because most battery retailers accept UPS battery backups. UPS battery recycling programs are featured at Best Buy, Advanced Auto, Staples, Home Depot, and Lowe’s. Vendors then delivers the used batteries to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) licensed recycling centers.


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Lead-Acid Battery Recycling: What You Need to Know

You may wonder what happens to your old car battery when it is replaced with a new one. In most cases, it will get recycled. Car batteries, which are lead-acid type batteries cannot be disposed of in incinerators or landfills because they are too toxic.

Lead-acid Batteries Come in Two Designs

Two types of lead-acid batteries are recycled. These batteries include deep-cycle batteries and starting batteries. A starting battery, like the name implies, provides the power to start an engine. A deep-cycle battery delivers a continual low level of power to keep an engine running.

A Short Introduction to the History

Lead-acid batteries were introduced in 1859 by Gaston Plante, a French scientist, and were the first rechargeable type batteries used commercially. Initially, the batteries were used to store power by utilities and to illuminate the lights on trains.

How the Batteries are Used

When most people think of a lead battery, they often think of an auto battery. However, lead batteries are used in a number of formats. Batteries are also used to power buses, golf carts, and boats. In addition, they are employed to power back-up generators in such places as prisons or hospitals during bad storms. Utility companies use lead-acid batteries to prevent power outages and handle variances in energy demand.

How the Batteries are Made

Batteries that are described as lead-acid contain large amounts of lead as well as sulfuric acid. When the batteries are made, a set of lead plates are used, each of which represent a negative and positive charge. The plates are dipped into a combination water solution and acid to charge the battery. Once the battery is constructed, it is placed into a container made of plastic.

Lead-acid batteries hold their charges for several years before they decline. When you consider the contents of the batteries, you quickly understand why recycling is important. The batteries can seriously endanger animals and humans, including ground water supplies. The lead used for the batteries must be mined too, which harms the environment over time.

The Recycling Process

Lead-acid batteries are crushed during recycling into pieces that measure about the size of a nickel. The various components are separated out of the pieces. Crushing is done inside a hammer mill before the broken parts are inserted into a vat. When inside the vat, the heavy materials and lead drop to the bottom and the plastic floats.

During this part of the process, the polypropylene plastic pieces are scooped up while the liquids are removed, leaving the heavy metals and lead. Thereafter, each of the materials go through a different recycling process.

Recycling the Plastic

The plastic is washed, dried, and sent to a plastic recycler where the pieces are melted into an almost liquid-like state. The molten plastic is placed inside an extruder that creates small plastic pellets of the material. Pellets are placed into manufacturing battery cases before the process starts once again.

How the Lead is Repurposed

Lead oxide, lead grids, and other lead components are cleaned and heated inside smelters. The molten lead is then poured into ingot molds where impurities float to the top. The impurities are removed before the ingots are cooled. After the ingots have sufficiently cooled, they are extracted from the molds and sent to battery companies where they are, again, melted and used in the manufacture of new batteries.

Recycling the Sulfuric Acid

Old battery acid or sulfuric acid is either neutralized so it turns into water or processed and converted to sodium sulfate, which is an odorless powder. The neutralized acid, when converted to water, is treated and cleaned in a waste water treatment facility to ensure it meets with clean water standards. If the acid is converted to sodium sulfate, it is used in the manufacture of laundry detergent, textiles, or glass.

According to the EPA, about 80% of the lead and plastic in a lead-acid battery is recycled for reuse. Lead-acid batteries are also closed-loop recycled, which means each part of a battery is recycled into a new battery.

Removing a Lead-acid Battery from Your Vehicle

Because lead-acid batteries are considered dangerous, retailers who sell the batteries often feature recycling programs. When removing a lead-acid battery from your own car then, leave the cable ends affixed. Also, check the battery to make sure it is not leaking. If it is leaking fluid, immediately transfer the component to a leak-proof container. Battery boxes made of plastic or fiberglass are sold at auto parts retailers.

Battery acid eats through concrete surfaces. So, if you put the battery on the ground, try to place it on an asphalt surface. Clean up a leak with baking soda, and treat the clean-up material as hazardous waste.

Lead-acid batteries should be transported in a leak-proof container to a recycling facility. If you have more than one battery to recycle, separate each part with a piece of wood so the post terminals do not meet.


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Flickr – Creative Commons

James Provost