If you need to get rid of a broken computer, or if you have a source for a few old systems that need to be scrapped, you'll need a plan for getting the job done efficiently. You have multiple options when recycling computers, and most choices depend on the amount of time you want to invest versus the amount of money you may receive. Here are a few computer recycling details to help you figure out what to do.
Aluminum is one of the more common materials inside computers, mostly because of the main case and the casing for many components. Aluminum is a lightweight, yet sturdy and affordable material, meaning the average consumer-level protection can be achieved at a lower cost.
The cases can be recycling by simply removing all of the larger components, such as any drives and the motherboard. This can be achieved with a screwdriver, and the cases can be stacked relatively easily for storage. If you need to take the case apart, you may need a rivet remover or wire cutters on certain models.
Smaller components such as the hard drive or optical drives (CD, DVD, Blu-Ray) are also covered in aluminum, and the cases can be removed with similar tools. At most, you may need to push a few tabs or use a screwdriver as a pry tool unless there is significant damage causing the case to stick.
The heat sink is a notable, thick piece of aluminum in most computers. It's used to draw heat away from high-temperature components such as the processor and may need to be pried away with a pry tool or a screwdriver. If the processor is less than five or so years old, it may have resale value worth more than most of the scrap metal, so be sure to look for thermal paste removal solution if you're scrapping a new computer.
Some computers have copper heat sinks or heat sinks made of linked aluminum and copper pieces. These are usually in graphics design or gaming computers for better temperature management, but more high-performance name brand computers are finally catching up to the custom computer scene with these parts.
Wires aren't a good source of copper, although they're present. The next best area is the power supply unit, but the component may have dangerous levels of electricity stored in the capacitor. Leave it to a electrician if you need to dismantle the power supply unit for your own copper supply, or recycling the power supply unit as a whole component
Contact a scrap metal recycling professional to find other ways to recycle your computers.