Whether you’re managing a business with hundreds of computers or getting rid of an old desktop, it’s important to understand the value that can be extracted from an old system. Various metals and reusable components can be pulled before tossing out the seemingly useless or outdated systems.
Consider a few salvage points inside computers before throwing the entire unit into the garbage:
Hard Drive Reuse and Scrapping
Hard drives are the main storage for your computer, containing the operating system that allows you to point and click through computer files more easily and all of the documents, movies, music files and other files.
Although hard drives can fail, it’s important to note that throwing out a perfectly good computer without at least checking the hard drive is a major waste of money. Modern hard drives are a considerable investment and the files stored within may have a lot of value. If you’ve done any amount of productive work or stored any sizable, memorable, hard to replace collections of files, you could be ruining an immeasurable amount of effort.
Hard drives can usually be put inside a new computer with little to no effort. The two generations of data and power connection standards for Parallel ATA (bar with pins) and Serial ATA (L-shape) can easily work with one another with relatively affordable adapters that cost a few dollars, if not cents, and any internal settings can be easily changed. If you can’t do it, any computer geek in the neighborhood can swap the drives for you.
If the hard drives have completely failed, you can still salvage rare earth magnets from inside. The magnets are sought after by manufacturers and hobbyists alike, as some retailers often run out of magnet stock.
Memory Module Potential
Memory modules are organized under the Double Data Rate (DDR) standard, with DDR3 being the popular standard as of this writing and DD4 entering the market as a slightly faster alternative. Memory modules usually last for decades unless physically damaged, but you’ll need to make sure that any future computers are compatible with the modules you have on hand.
There isn’t much to scrap from a memory module. The gold contacts are tiny and not worth removing unless you have warehouse containers of memory, which may still be better off sold intact. A recycling service center can put you in contact with computer component recycling programs that can put your system to better use instead of simply melting down to the basic materials.
Contact a recycling professional to plan your scrapping and to move your excess materials to a recycling service center.