Christmas is mere weeks away, and already it’s predicted to be the most lucrative festive period ever for peddlers of the latest generation of technology products. From tablets and laptops to games consoles and smartphones, a new report from uSwitch suggests that parents will collectively spend £3bn on tech presents for their kids; the average spend per child totting up to £243.
That’s without taking into account the adults in the house who also want in on the next gen consoles or sleekest tablets. That’s a lot of both money and space to find, especially as it doesn’t seem all that long ago that you bought the last PC/laptop/games console/smartphone that’s been gathering dust for some time. This guest post, supplied by circuit board recyclers AWA Refiners, runs through how recycling these devices can benefit you threefold – ecologically, financially and spatially.
You Could Sell Parts Which Still Work
(NB: Before you start handling components, invest in an anti-static wrist strap – a couple of pounds at most, but will stop you giving working parts a fatal static shock).
Before you start hastily throwing everything away, it’s worth looking at what can be resold and what can be salvaged by a recycling company. Two of the most valuable components in a desktop PC are the CPU (processing chip; found under an easily removable fan and heatsink) and the graphics card, if you have one installed.
It’s generally only the high-end components that are worth the big bucks second hand, but even if you have a relatively cheap, low end machine there’s still a market for budget bits. Even the cheapest processors might fetch you £10-£20 on an auction site, and a cheap graphics card could still sell for £30+. But it does depend on the parts, though, so Google the model numbers and check what they generally sell for. Either way, if it still works, someone will likely take it off your hands for a few quid.
One thing to remember is to always keep hold of your old hard drives – they’ll contain sensitive information like login data, financial records and personal files, none of which you want falling into the wrong hands. Either keep them for your own records or send them to a specialist company to be wiped and destroyed.
Boards & Components Contain Precious Metals
While gold, silver and platinum all enter our minds as solid bars in a bank vault, worn as jewellery or found in ornate antiques, they’re an enormous part of the electronics industry. All three of these precious metals make fantastic electrical conductors, which is why they’re the material of choice for contact points in circuit boards and other PC-related peripherals.
What this means is that, as well as fully working components, your old defunct PC could be housing precious metals which can be refined and turned into cash. We’re not talking vast amounts of wealth, as the amount of these precious metals inside a motherboard or RAM module is quite small, but sending enough electrical circuit boards through to a recycling company can yield a nice little bit of money – and it’s more than you’d get by just throwing it to landfill!
Companies will often prefer to deal with as large an amount of circuit boards as you can muster up, so look at old PCs, laptops and even games consoles that have given up the ghost and can’t be resold – also consider collaborating with friends and family to get them on board to ensure you get the best rates possible.
Out With The Old, In With The New!
Ok, so you’ve done your bit for the environment (and considering the huge negative impact that electronic equipment can have, this is one of the best bits!), and you’ve managed to get back a bit of extra cash to help with the onset of Christmas but the third greatest achievement on our list is the extra space. The average computer lifespan is three to five years before people either decide to upgrade or the hardware gives up the ghost – if your home’s been digital since, say, the late 90s then there’s likely going to be a good half a dozen desktops and laptops gathering dust in the loft.
Freeing up this space will keep your home clutter-free, give you some valuable loft space back, and get rid of any redundant appliances that may have remained plugged in while sapping power. Besides, a triple whammy of environmental help, bit of money back and a tidier home can’t ever be bad, right? Now get sorting!
This guest post was written by Tom McShane – blogger, green enthusiast, tech lover and writer for UK-based AWA Refiners, who specialise in computer board recycling and precious metal refinement.