How to Recycle Gold From a Computer

by Diane Steinbach ; Updated September 28, 2017

Items you will need

  • Old computers

  • Screwdriver

  • Bins to hold materials

Recycling old or defunct computers is not only environmentally responsible. It can be somewhat profitable as well. As they computer age goes on, our land fills are chock full of electronic waste that inevitably pollutes our water sources and the earth it's buried under. When you are taking out that new laptop or CPU, use that box to hold all your recyclable, old computer parts.

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Open your CPU (the computer.) Most older CPUs have gold components on the circuit boards. Taking the whole board out is the first step. Open up the case for your computer to access the electronics inside. Of course, the CPU should be unplugged, and the memory should be wiped clean before you dissemble just to be safe. You'll need a small screwdriver for this step.

Take out the electronic components. Once inside, you'll see the mother boards and memory chips. Pull out all the tasty bits and lay in a bin. The case and other parts are also recyclable. Pack them up separately for an environmentally responsible disposal.

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Stock pile it. A study done by EOEarth states "1 metric ton (t) of electronic scrap from personal computers (PC's) contains more gold than that recovered from 17 t of gold ore." One computer won't have enough gold to make you rich. Yet, if you begin to collect abandoned computers, you can save all your gold parts. This will make going through the process of reverse electro plating it by the recycling center worth the time and effort.

Separate your pieces. Most computer recycling centers ask that you separate metals and plastics. Don't just focus on the gold in your computer. Be sure to recycle the rest of the plastics and electronics. To keep down clutter, immediately disassemble your old computers and take all the plastics in for recycling immediately.

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Take it in for recycling.You'll see that your computer has all kinds of shiny metallics in it. Many of these metals are also recyclable. Taking your PC to a computer recycle center is the easiest way to retrieve your precious metals. You'll want to find a precious metals refinery to send your circuit boards and chips to. They will do all the work, and they'll give you a fair price for the efforts. See our Resources section for more information.

Tip

  • Don't expect to make a lot of money from computer recycling unless you plan to go into business. Recycling your computer gold can put a few bucks in your hands though, and it can make you feel good about ditching that old personal computer.

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