Identifying Recyclable Materials In Computer Systems

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Identifying Recyclable Materials In Computer Systems

10 April 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog

If your business has an impressive Information Technology infrastructure, there's likely a wealth of recyclable metals and other materials embedded through many of the components. From bulk amounts of aluminum and steel to rare earth magnets, you could be throwing away a considerable amount of recoverable funding if you don't pay attention to your business recycling process. Here are a few recyclable component areas inside computers, network devices, and other IT infrastructure equipment that are worth deeper price and reuse research.

Computer Case Recycling Points

The computer case has the most mass of any computer component, and many network devices share the same configuration. In most systems, the computer case is chassis and set of covering panels made of aluminum. Computers used in some industrial work areas or for field use may have steel cases, or steel supports.

Outer case panels can usually be removed with a simple screwdriver or a button press when working with no-tool cases. The framework isn't meant to be dismantled by most people and may be held together with rivets, sliding tabs, or harder to reach screws.

Many cases have plastics or rubber as the outer layer for decoration purposes, but these layers can be removed by pressing inner tabs or finding the associated screws.

Hard Drive And General Storage Recycling

The term hard drive is used as a generic name for storage drives, which hold the actual files for computer use. A hard drive is actually a specific type of storage drive that stores information with magnetic recording and reading in a way similar to a record player.

Hard drives are protected by vacuum-sealed aluminum cases but are deceptively heavy as far as profitable recycling is concerned. Much of the weight comes from the glass-like storage platters, which are coated with a vendor-proprietary substrate of metals and minerals to create a reflective surface.

The arms used to read hard drive information are held in place with a set of rare earth magnets. Rare earth magnets are still in a precarious position as far as recycling is concerned, since the effort required to recycle rare earth minerals is not yet cost effective in terms of consuming fuel and wasting other resources for a small yield. Research in recent years have discovered new ways to increase the recycling yield but may not yet produce adequate recycling center prices as of 2015.

This may yield poor recycling pay rates, but your business could see better payout from hobbyists looking for the magnets for personal use. Since the hard drive label is used colloquially for any storage device, it's important to know that solid state drives (SSDsdo not contain rare earth magnets and are worth less for recycling purposes. Aluminum cases are only used for sturdiness purposes, and most SSDs are in plastic-like cases with a printed circuit board inside.

Speak with a commercial recycling professional to discuss the systems you have on, the recycling rate of the day, and pick-up/delivery options. Or check out a site like for more information.