Handing in different types of old printed circuit boards
Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are there in all shapes and sizes and can be found in every electronic device. All PCBs contain valuable metals. This device will generally have an increased value when it contains more components and thus functions. Holland Recycling has years of experience in sorting PCBs.
We have created a catalogue of old PCBs. This overview is compiled based on the data we have collected over the years and contains clear photos and descriptions of each PCB. It is especially helpful in determining how you can sort your printed circuit boards to maximise product value. Still not too sure which category your printed circuit board belongs to? Then please contact us using our WhatsApp service.
Different types of old PCBs
Low-quality PCBs are used for simple processes and can be found in household supplies, audiovisual equipment, and in power supplies from all kinds of other devices. The function is of low-quality PCBs is oftentimes to regulate electrical processes. The gold content of this type of PCB varies between 10 to 30 ppm.
Medium-quality PCBs are used in simple, yet multifunction device such as routers, modems and TV receivers. These PCBs must be able to regulate multiple processes which require high-quality ICs and CPUs. The gold content of this type of PCB varies between 50 to 150 ppm.
High-quality PCBs are used in complex devices, such as network and telecom equipment. These must be able to handle many processes simultaneously. This type of PCB has many different connections through which information is received or sent. PCBs from devices with many functions that are also very small. For example, a mobile phone often contains lots of precious metals because they require high-quality chips. These PCBs have a gold content of 150 to 350 PPM.
Precious metals in PCBs
Which precious metals do PCBs actually contain? And why are they needed? Holland Recycling assesses PCBs based on their concentration of gold, silver, palladium and copper. In addition to these four elements, many other precious metals can be found in PCBs, but in very low concentrations. Examples include rhodium or tantalum. However, the value of PCBs is determined by the first four metals.
But why are these expensive and scarce metals used in circuit boards? This has to do with the conduction of electricity, the malleability of the metal (gold can be formed into micron-thin wire) and the resistance to corrosion.
For this reason it is possible that you will find gold on the outside of devices, namely on the contacts of connectors and plugs.
Because the gold used on plugs and contacts is only a few microns thick (a hair is 40 microns thick on average), PCB recycling is all about volumes. For example, let’s look at a computer motherboard. Modern motherboards contain about 60 to 100 grams of gold per 1,000 kg. Old motherboards which are older than 20 years contain 140 to 200 grams of gold per 1,000 kg. From a recycling point of view, the quality of PCBs (i.e. the content of precious metals in PCBs) is therefore becoming increasingly poor.
Printed circuit board recycling
Many customers ask whether we recover precious metals from PCBs ourselves. We do not. The refining process is very complex and dangerous. We therefore have close partnerships with renowned smelters in Europe and Japan where precious metals are refined in so-called metallurgical processing plants.
Precious metals are scarce and many products cannot be made without them. We realise that we have to extract precious metals from mines several kilometres deep. In addition to this, valuable metals are increasingly mined in ecologically sensitive areas. There is an alternative: Urban Mining, in concrete terms this involves the practise of extracting valuable materials through recycling. By recycling old PCBs with Holland Recycling, you can rest assured that the highest recycling percentages will be yielded.
Frequently asked questions about PCBs
How much are printed circuit boards in scrap worth?
The price depends on the precious metal components in the PCB. Do you own large volumes of old printed circuit boards? Then send us photos of the boards so we can give you a price indication.
What does a printed circuit board contain?
The main raw materials in a printed circuit board are gold, silver, palladium and copper. The amount of precious metals can very between each circuit board.
Where can I have my printed circuit boards recycled?
You can hand in your old printed circuit boards for money at Holland Recycling (located in Boxtel). The recycling of PCBs belongs to our core business. Thanks to all the years of experience in this field, we can give you a fair value for every PCB.
Do you have a collection service for old PCBs?
Holland Recycling has its own collection service for picking up large volumes of printed circuit boards at your location. Please contact us to see what we can do for you.
How much gold is in a printed circuit board?
The amount of gold in a printed circuit board depends on the type. To illustrate, printed circuit boards from audio equipment contain way less gold than, for example, printed circuit boards found in computers or mobile phones.
What types of printed circuit boards are there?
We make a distinction between the following three types of old printed circuit boards: low-quality printed circuit boards, medium-quality printed circuit boards and high-quality printed circuit boards. Do you need help? Please contact us.