Proper Copper, Electronics, and Circuit Board Recycling


circuit board recycling

A Comprehensive Guide to Copper Circuit Board Recycling

About Copper

Copper or 29Cu is the 29th atomic number on the periodic table of elements. Copper is a naturally occurring metal. This means it occurs in a way that makes it usable as metal and made into any number of items. Throughout history, copper has appeared in building materials and weapons. Copper gets used in buildings, electronics, and wood preservatives in the modern age. It is also an essential element for the function of the human body. 

What has Copper in it?

Copper gets used commercially in most electrical products as superfine wire or circuits. If the circuits and wires are maintained during use and they have no flaws than they are perfect for recycling as scrap metal. Circuit board recycling is a common way to get high-quality copper This also means the surface of the copper is in excellent condition. Recycling copper for the best price and future repurposing is getting designated a grade ‘A’ quality product.

Copper acquired from power cables is also a fine wire with high connectivity. The quality is slightly less high than for commercial electronics, but it has a reduced amount of impurities. This type of wire will have a minimum amount of impurities, but when heated and mixed with a higher grade copper the high-grade copper will be diluted. This makes the wire reusable.

If the copper is not to be used for any products with connectivity, it can be repurposed into plumbing tubes, heat exchanges, and roofing sheets. The diluted copper is secondary copper, which has less connectivity than ‘A’ quality product so it can be used in products where connectivity is not a factor in its use.

Copper is commonly used in circuit boards and computers. Circuit board recycling and computer recycling is a growing concern for the number of hazardous materials they both contain. The disposal or repurposing of those materials is at the forefront of environmental concern. There are companies that make it their business to properly dispose of copper and other materials that occur in many electronics. This is a process known as ecycling and it can help you recycle copper and other materials safely.

How Does Copper get Recycled?

Recycling or ecycling electronics is easy when you visit licensed facilities with the right equipment. Most professional recycling or ecycling centers have special machines that can extract the copper directly from the product. Circuit board recycling is one of the most common ways people get copper out of a product. It is a fairly common practice as there is a growing awareness for the need to recycle more of the products we use. It also is something the casual recycler can profit off of. Many of the facilities that recycle copper will pay almost as much for used copper as they will for new. It is expensive to buy new copper because it is expensive to mine it so most places will pay top dollar for good quality copper.

Recycling copper starts with collecting any scrap copper from used devices or appliances. Computer recycling and circuit board recycling is quite common. Copper wiring is what can be obtained from most computer recycling and circuit board recycling. Copper pipes can be had from home remodels and can be found at rummage sales.

How much money you can make from copper recycling and the price you will receive for your copper depends on the grade of copper. The grade can be determined by where the copper came from or the degree of wear the copper shows.

What is the Value of Copper?

The grades of copper are one of the main things that determine the value of the copper and how much money you can get for it. The current market for copper will dictate what kind of a price you can get for the copper. If the copper market is not doing well, it can be more economical to wait to recycle the copper if you have the time to wait. 

‘A’ grade Copper

This is the highest grade of copper. The copper is clean and shiny and shows little wear. There will be few or no signs of tarnish or soldering. It should also not be coated copper. This is the highest grade of copper and a scrap metal buyer will pay the highest for the quality of the copper. The copper should be 16 gauge or larger in diameter and should be almost bare of flaws. Most copper pipe is not included in this grade.

First Grade Copper

This type of copper is almost the most profitable type of copper. To be classified as first-grade copper, it should be the wire that is at least 1/16th of an inch in diameter, commutator segments, clippings, or bus bars.

The copper should appear to be clean, uncoated and unalloyed. Copper pipe that is clean can qualify has first-grade copper as long as it does not show any other materials such as paint, soldering, insulation, or fittings. There should be few or no signs of corrosion and any fittings it may have had should have been removed.

Second Grade Copper

Coated copper has very little value. It is usually made of the lowest grade of copper and it often requires additional work to strip it from insulation or be in areas or items where it is difficult to get to it. It is easy to identify by the dirty appearance of it. The size of it should not exceed 16th of an inch in diameter. The metal should also be 94-96 percent copper content. If it has fittings or oxidation as will appear on some tubes, wires, or pipes this is acceptable as long as the damage to the product is not extensive.

‘A’ grade Copper Wire

This is the best type of copper wire for recycling. It is like regular copper pipe and pieces. If it is bright, shiny, and clean than it is more valuable and will pay more. It must be completely clean with no unalloyed wire, uncoated, and 16 gauges or greater in diameter.

First Grade Copper Wire

This wire is also clean or nearly so. It is uncoated, unalloyed, and has not been mixed with other materials like tin. First grade copper wire can be plastic insulated with a gauge or 16 ore larger. It does not need to be stripped, but it should be as shiny and bright as the highest grade of copper wire with few flaws.

Second Grade Copper Wire

This type of copper wire should be plastic wrapped or double insulated. It must be 16 gauge or thinner and unalloyed. This type of wire is generally found in electronics like extension cords or electronics like outlets. For this lower grade of wire, it is fine to have trace amounts of tin or nickel as well as some corrosion. You will not be paid as much for it as if it were clean wire, but still meets the right degree of classification.

Increase the grade by stripping any insulation off the copper as insulation decreases the value of any copper it covers. It is also worth the time in some cases to try to brush up and out many of the visual impurities to get the most for the copper. You can determine the grade of copper you have by appearance, but also by using a magnet to determine whether you have a ferrous or non-ferrous metal.

Ferrous Metal

Ferrous metal is not worth very much. If a magnet sticks to the metal than you have ferrous metal. This type of metal is usually common such as steel or iron. It will be accepted for scraping and it will be recycled properly, but you will not receive much money for it.

Non-Ferrous Metal

Non-Ferrous metals can be common as well, but they are worth more than ferrous metal. A magnet should not stick to these metals. They are usually copper, aluminum, stainless steel, bronze, and brass. These are valuable and you will get more for recycling them properly.

The Environment and Copper

Computer Recycling

Computer recycling is something that needs to be done carefully. A computer has thousands of little pieces that need to be that can be repurposed or remade into other items. Doing so keeps these pieces out of the landfills and keeps the cycle of reusing items going. A good computer recycling center will be able to remove all the toxic substances within a computer. They will also be able to remove the large amounts of copper that are worked into the motherboards and wires that make up a computer.

A good computer recycling center will remove the components that can be salvaged, including a large amount of copper a computer has. They will also make sure that any data still left on the computer gets removed so no trace amount of personal information gets left on them. This is a growing responsibility for recycling companies everywhere as more computer recycling is needed.

Circuit Board Recycling

Circuit Board Recycling is good for the environment. It is a way to reclaim multiple types of metals and plastics that make up the circuit board, melt them down and re-purpose them into other products and materials. This helps to reduce the impact these materials have on the environment and help reduce the amount of energy that gets spent to reduce these materials back into working forms. Circuit board recycling is particularly needed because of the number of components that go into their manufacturing. Circuit board recycling is a growing need with the number of electronics being released that eventually end up in landfills.

Many of the metals and materials that make up circuit boards are harmful to the environment. They are full of metals that are precious metals like gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. These metals are easily repurposed into other electronics. The base metals extracted from a circuit board are where you have to be careful. The copper, iron, zinc, tin, nickel, and aluminum need to be separated into their individual components to prevent harmful elements such as barium, beryllium, and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) from ending up in the environment.

Circuit board recycling occurs when it is reduced back to these original components. These original components can then be used in other products. This reduces the need to mine for more of these metals. Copper mining is particularly harmful to the environment, so many recycling centers will pay almost the same price for recycled ‘A’ grade copper as they would for newly mined copper.


E-cycling is one of the latest ways of managing the large numbers of electronics hitting landfills and disposal markets. Electronic recycling reuses, donates, or redistributes electronics that are no longer wanted to areas that can properly dispose of them or repurpose them. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) allows for the following items to be e-cycled:

  • Computers
  • CDs
  • DVDs
  • Stereos
  • Mobile Phones
  • Vacuum Cleaners
  • Computer Peripheral
  • Microwave Ovens
  • Televisions

If the items are still functional and in good working conditions, they are often recirculated to organizations that can make sure people who need them can get them. E-cycling facilities have been set up to make sure these items – especially “smart” items – are dissembled correctly and completely for accurate disposal if they are completely unusable. Circuit board recycling and computer recycling are also e-cycling.

Many of the components of all of these products should not be part of the environment. Find correct and safe ways to handle the large amounts of electronics that are no longer wanted or needed is a growing concern all over the world. Landfills across the globe are filling up with electronics that are not being properly disposed of. There are companies that are taking this concern seriously.

About CJD E-Cycling

CJD E-Cycling is there for you when you need your electronics recycled in a safe and environmentally stable way. We are available to take computers and electronics and reduce them into their components to safely recycle all of them. CJD E-Cycling is a family-owned business that services the Metro East/St. Louis area. We follow the laws and regulations for the State of Illinois. 

CJD takes the security and disposal of electronics seriously. We want to make sure your data is disposed of in a way that keeps you secure while being able to purchase your used scrap metal for a price that works for you. Computer and circuit board recycling is serious. We know that you depend on us to take care of personal information and the environment.

The Benefits of Recycling Your Computer

computer recycling

The Positive Impact of Computer Recycling

For most people, upgrading your computer is a well thought out event. Major computer enthusiasts can spend months deciding on the right components, purchasing them, and actually building their PC. Casual tech owners may only spend a few moments at their local store selecting their new machine. However, in many cases, we don’t think about what to do with our computers after we no longer have a use for them.

Sometimes, you can resell your old computer for some extra cash. This isn’t always an option though. For instance, if you haven’t upgraded your machine in quite some time, it may be outdated. Furthermore, you could experience technical issues that make it so your machine is no longer salvageable.

However, it is exceptionally important that you properly dispose of your PC when you have deemed it time to do so. There are several companies, such as CJD E-Cycling, that will recycle your unwanted technology for you.

What is E-Waste Recycling? 

E-waste recycling is a form of computer recycling. When disposing of items, there are often restrictions on items such as electronics and batteries, as they can be hazardous to the health and safety of the general public when they begin to decompose. Therefore, proper decomposition and recycling of electronic materials are exceptionally important – especially as technology is becoming more and more an integrated part of our society.

However, despite waste laws and regulations on the disposal of electronic devices, many individuals may feel that they are not doing any lasting harm by simply throwing out their used computers. What these individuals don’t realize, however, is that there are a plethora of benefits to recycling your used computer that many personal and retail technology investors may not be aware of.

What Takes Place During E-Waste Recycling?

In many cases, approximately 90% of all electronics are fully recyclable. This means that the various components of the machinery are broken down. The components are then either reused or properly recycled. Potentially hazardous materials are removed and sent to proper facilities in order to ensure that dangerous chemicals are disposed of without harm to the environment.

Pieces of the machinery that can be recycled are often used in a variety of ways. For instance, the plastic casing of a laptop may be repurposed – it can be recycled like normal, common plastic and used for different projects. It can also be sent back to computer factories and reused if in good condition for refurbished machines. Components of the machine itself, such as the motherboard and processors, may be repaired by professionals and resold as refurbished parts for individuals to purchase, or used to replace broken pieces in other machines.

In some cases, computer recycling means upgrading a computer and donating it to local facilities. Donated computers and other electronics may be used in homeless shelters, schools, libraries, prisons, and adult education centers. Often, this technology is used to support low-income individuals in need, as well as educational programs that assist individuals in instances where they need to rehabilitate themselves after a tragedy, addiction, or other misfortune.

Of course, components submitted for e-waste recycling that cannot be used, for one reason or another, are disposed of by professionals. This process ensures that any unsafe chemicals are broken down into non-toxic components before being deposited in landfills or other waste management facilities.

Benefits of Computer Recycling

Throughout the United States, individuals campaign for more active recycling awareness. Typically, when individuals think of recycling, however, they think of your basic recyclables – plastic, paper, metal, and similar materials. What many don’t realize is that e-waste recycling, though it may seem unnecessary, is an important category of recycling that not only benefits the environment but the safety and overall health of the human population. Furthermore, in some cases, recycled electronics can be used for other projects, making them a valuable asset for many individuals in our society.

There is a slew of benefits that can be derived from computer recycling and other e-waste management that many recycling communities may not consider. Below, we discuss the various benefits that can come from e-waste recycling.

Conservation of the Environment

When you purchase an electronic device, or even something as simple as a package of batteries, you may notice that they contain a disposal warning. Typically, it says something about proper disposal due to toxic waste. What many individuals fail to realize when they purchase an electronic device is the proper disposal process.

Many electronic devices are made of materials that are toxic to the environment, such as flame retardants, zinc, chromium, lead, and barium. These chemicals – especially items such as lead – can be exceptionally harmful to humans and other animals. Individuals who work in landfills and waste management facilities may be exposed to these chemicals, which, if left untreated, can be fatal. Therefore, it is important to ensure that these materials, instead of being deposited in a landfill, are properly disposed of at a computer recycling facility.

Furthermore, these materials are often not decomposable – meaning that they further negatively impact the environment by contributing to the filling of landfills. While, in some cases, the solution to overfilled landfills involves the burning of waste, these materials are often dangerous to burn and can cause chemical reactions, causing long-term issues for the environment and potentially harming individuals who are tasked with these duties.

Depositing of electronics in landfills, furthermore, leads to pollution. As the metals and chemicals included erode in the landfills, they release chemicals into the environment. Some release gases, which contribute to air pollution – a leading factor of global warming in the United States. In other cases, the chemicals are released into the ground, inevitably running into the groundwater. Contaminated groundwater can lead to boil water notices. This is due to the fact contaminated water is deadly, in many cases, and can lead to issues such as lead poisoning and other illnesses.

With this in mind, proper e-waste recycling is exceptionally important. Computer recycling facilities ensure that electronics are properly disposed of and reduce the number of potentially toxic chemicals being released into the environment. Given the rise in water toxicity issues throughout the United States, as well as the overwhelming e-waste issues reported by many public landfills, this is an important aspect of proper waste management that should not be considered as optional, but necessary to maintaining human health and environmental integrity.

Community Development and Support

As previously mentioned, in many cases computer recycling is similar to a new and relatively popular trend known as upcycling, in which individuals take previously used items and turn them into something similar, but new. In many cases, recycled computers may be repaired and reused for different purposes. While this may seem like a relatively simplistic job, in many cases it can be a long term project that requires multiple individuals to successfully complete.

For instance, the initial repairs will need to be done by certified technicians who are familiar with the technology at hand and able to repair it. This may be as simple as the installation of new computer components, or it may mean harddrive and operation system repairs. Furthermore, broken components may be sent to the aforementioned professionals to be repaired and refurbished if they are deemed repairable.

Individuals who are not experienced with technology may be under the impression that work like this is simple, but depending upon the repairs and installations required, skilled engineers may be necessary to properly repair parts alongside individuals how are experienced in PC building and device management. The need for these roles, as created by computer recycling, creates jobs on a local and national level, depending on the type of e-waste recycling taking place.

This job creation is a great asset in boosting our economy and workforce, as every day, individuals are purchasing new electronics and replacing outdated technology. For instance, big businesses often upgrade their computer systems every few years – meaning dozens, if not hundreds of machines have the potential to be recycled every year. These machines are often donated or given away in sales, purchased by local libraries, schools, and community resource officers to provide essential – because, in today’s day and age, computers, and computer skills are essential – workforce training for individuals who may be in need.

Other Benefits

While the primary benefits lie in job creation, the ability to protect the environment and the development of communities through reused electronics, there are other benefits to recycling computers that many individuals may not realize. For instance, some recycled computers are used for scientific purposes, such as research and study of technology.

Old computers can often be disassembled and used to help develop new technology. This is primarily due to the fact that in many cases, it is more affordable to reuse older technology than attempt to purchase new and current technology when attempting to develop and understand technological advances. For instance, experimentation on electric current and energy conservation can often be completed using recycled technology, making it a valuable resource for scientists.

Other benefits include the ability to use the chemical decomposition of old technology to understand how too develop technology moving forward that is more environmentally friendly. Scientists are able to study the chemicals that are dispersed when technology is disposed of, both properly and improperly, and determine the best course of action to ensure that future technology is developed in a way that requires less toxic chemicals to be used.

Research completed on used technology can also help scientists determine the best course of action for the removal of chemicals that are deposited into the environment by technology that has not been disposed of through proper computer recycling methods. This is important, as, despite the growing campaign to encourage individuals to properly dispose of their used technology through e-waste recycling, plenty of technology still finds its way into landfills annually. Understanding the best ways to manage this sort of waste and the hazardous chemicals created by these products when they are disposed of improperly is important to ensuring the integrity of our environment moving forward.

Of course, an additional benefit of computer recycling is the cost factor associated with it. In some cases, if you have a plethora of old technology cluttering your home or office, some e-waste recycling facilities will purchase your used technology from you for a fair price. This is a win-win situation typically speaking – they are able to take your used technology off of your hands, and you gain a profit, no matter how small. Who doesn’t love a little extra cash, anyway? Knowing that the technology you are recycling will be put to good use is a further additional benefit!

Where Can I Recycle My Computer?

With all of the benefits presented for computer recycling, there are few reasons not to recycle your used technology. Many companies will assist you in the proper recycling – and, if necessary, data destruction – of used technology. Companies such as CJD E-Cycling will assist in the proper disposal of your computer at limited to no cost to you, depending on the services you are looking for.

It is important, initially, to ensure that the company you are choosing to use for your computer recycling needs is involved in ethical recycling. Essentially, it is most important to ensure that your computer is being repurposed and recycled properly – make sure you are not providing your technology to a company who will, for instance, use any data left on your machine. Furthermore, make sure that the company you are choosing is going to ensure no hazardous materials make their way to public landfills. Companies such as CJD are committed to ensuring that all machines in our care are disposed of in responsible ways, as we feel that maintaining our community and environment is of the utmost importance.

What Are The Benefits Of E-cycle?

E-cycle or electronics recycling is the practice of reusing or recycling computer or electronic parts. It can be as simple as giving your laptop to one of your relatives or as complex as breaking your machine down into usable raw materials for new devices. We will tackle the benefits of e-cycle such as in the environment, in the economy and in data security. Read more