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The Cost of Harvesting Precious Metals from Electronics – Don’t Try This at Home Kids


This month as we celebrate Earth Day there is an increased focus on eco-friendly initiatives around the globe. The worldwide use of electronics has continued to rapidly increase year over year. The replacement time of electronics has decreased as consumers swap out their old devices for new technology the minute it becomes available. This results in excessive electronic waste in need of recycling. While electronic recycling centers have been popping up all over the country, most electronics are still being thrown away in the trash. These tv’s, computers, stereos and more end up at your local dump. The saying “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” has become the mission statement for the droves of people in many parts of the world who go to the dump to harvest these unwanted electronics.

Electronics Harvesting
A recent movement claims there is money in the precious metals that can be collected from electronic trash. You can find barium, strontium, lead, gold, and copper all which companies will buy from you. The most profitable of these ventures is gold harvesting. While the payday might be good, there are major health risks and pollution control issues involved with the electronics harvesting movement.

How Much Gold can you find?
The most popular harvested precious metal is gold. For every 2,000 lbs there is anywhere from 8 to 16oz of gold. Now the question is, where do you find the gold and how do you sell it. The gold is in computer hard drives and motherboards as well as cell phones. Almost all the valuable items you will find are gold-plated components. All these trashed electronics can be found in plenty at the dump for a very low price.

How do you Retrieve the Gold?
Here comes the hard part. You need to disassemble the paneling, circuit boards, and everything else to find the gold-plated items. Processing the raw components is very dangerous. The panels and boards need to be melted down with acid or by other means. Many people have been severely burned in this process. There are also a plethora of dangerous fumes and chemicals released during burning that cause damage to the skin, eyes, and lungs.

How to safely harvest precious metals

This practice needs to be performed within the confines of pollution control facilities. At these licensed facilities the proper pollution control equipment is used to clean fumes and materials released from the recycling process. Workers need to be wearing specialized protective safety gear and using the proper tools. In addition to safety concerns, there are environmental issues as stake caused by the releasing of chemicals that occur while harvesting is being carried out. Instead of risking your safety, there are several companies in every state that will pay you for unwanted electronics. These niche companies pay per pound for old electronics and give a good price for the components and will safely harvest the precious metals. So next time your TV breaks, think about recycling it at one of these companies. Recycling is good for the earth and good for your wallet.

Baker Furnace supplies a wide range of pollution control equipment to many industries. We understand the importance of taking every precaution necessary to protect workers and the environment from pollutants that are created from a multitude of processes.


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