How to Recover Precious Metals From Electronic Waste

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When most people think of precious metals used in electronic equipment, they think of silver and gold, but even more costly metals, such as platinum, palladium, ruthenium and iridium are also important elements, primarily in producing corrosion free contacts. Because all these metals are both costly and scarce, recycling them is an important process in recovering these precious metals for reuse. Here's how to do it.

  • Find a recycling center that handles electronic equipment. Most city, county and state governments require recycling of electronics and have drop off locations strategically placed for easy access. See the Resource section for suggestions.

  • Consider donating used electronic equipment to schools or charitable organizations. Many components can be upgraded or refurbished to increase their life and usability and sold at low cost to those who can't afford or don't need the newest technology. Donating to a qualifying organization can also give you a tax deduction for a charitable contribution.

  • Think about upgrading your existing electronic devices or converting them to other uses for yourself. This can save you money and reduce the demand for new equipment, saving resources. If you do buy new equipment, consider buying some of the new "green" technology that uses safer and more ecologically friendly components (see link in Resources).

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