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Recycling Computers Without Wasting Your Investment

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If you need to get rid of an old computer, the standard trash isn't a good idea. Many states either set fines for throwing away computers and other electronic waste (eWaste) to the curb, or the garbage service simply won't pick the electronics up. You may be throwing away some profitable parts either for recycling or resale, but a few details can help you figure out which path to take for making decent money back.

Salvageable And Sellable Components

Why are you getting rid of the computer? Is it old? Is it broken? Does that mean that every component and peripheral is old or broken? In many cases, you may have a mostly old system that still has some relevant components, but you need to do the research.

Some of the more commonly resold components are as follows:

  • Random Access Memory (RAM) - Memory can survive a bit of rough handling and can be removed by opening the computer case and looking for a pair of tabs to pull the modules (called sticks by the tech world) out. They're divided into generations such as Double Data Rate (DDR) 2, DDR3, DDR4, and so on. As of 2017, DDR3 and DDR4 are the relevant standards.
  • Power Supply - Power supplies probably have the longest resale life. If they work, the only thing that matters is the wattage. Modern computers are usually looking for something around 400w (watts) or above. 
  • Processor - This can get tricky. Processors are hard to remove without damaging the thin, sensitive pins. Before doing anything, look up the specific processor type and prices for used processor sales. If it's over $100, look up a guide for your motherboard to properly remove the component, and be sure to place it in a protective processor case.
  • Optical Drive - CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray drives have nearly unending valuable life as long as they work.

Hard Drive - Storage drives are one of the first devices to fail in a computer, and may not resell well because of the risk. When selling, be sure to format the drive in accordance to your operating system to remove your personal data and to prepare the drive for quick use by the buyer.

Junking The Unusable Devices

If you can't find a single recyclable component, or if you still have a fairly intact computer after removing one or two components, you'll need to consider recycling rates.

Every material inside your computer has a specific recycling rate and micro-industry based around that rate. The rates change on a daily basis, so you'll want to recycle your old computer when the prices are in your favor.

In addition to individual material prices such as aluminum, copper, gold, tungsten, or platinum, recycling centers have averaged rates for entire devices. The amount of recycling materials in most devices of a single category, such as computers or printers, is given. It should be linked to the individual material prices, but may not be accurate by the day.

At this point, it's up to you if you want to separate each material for individual recycling or send in the whole unit. For scrapping individual materials, you may want to get a few color-coded recycling bins to separate different materials. A junk removal professional can deliver the containers needed for individual scrapping, as well as a clearly-marked recycling container to dispose of larger devices.

Contact a junk removal company, such as Junk It, and discuss the electronics you need to throw away.