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Revealing the Hidden Treasures: The Valuable Materials Lurking Inside Recycled Laptops

Inside Recycled Laptops

At MBH Global, we strive to process IT equipment with the best possible environmental impact. Our primary focus is on reusing and refurbishing IT assets to extend their lifespan, thereby saving CO2 emissions compared to purchasing of new equipment. However, when reuse and refurbishment are not viable options, recycling becomes necessary. In such cases, MBH Global ensures that all items are recycled in full compliance with relevant legislation, taking every possible step to minimise environmental impact.

Recycling a laptop involves recovering various materials and components that can be reused, thereby conserving natural resources and reducing environmental impact.

The benefits

Reduction in Mining: Reusing metals and rare earth elements reduces the need for mining, which is environmentally destructive and energy-intensive.
Energy Savings: Recycling materials typically uses less energy than producing new materials from raw sources.
Waste Reduction: Reduces the volume of e-waste sent to landfills, minimising soil and water contamination.
Economic Value: Recovering valuable metals like gold, silver, and copper provides economic benefits by reducing the cost of raw materials.

So lets take a look at what potential resource’s can be extracted from a laptop that is recycled.

1. Metals
– Aluminium: Often used in laptop casings and some internal components.
– Copper: Found in wiring and cooling systems.
– Gold: Present in small amounts in connectors and circuit boards.
– Silver: Used in circuit boards and connectors.
– Steel: Found in various internal parts.
– Platinum: Used in hard drives and other components.

2. Plastics
– ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): Commonly used in keyboard keys and some parts of the casing.
– Polycarbonate: Used in some screen casings and other durable parts.
– Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC): Found in cables and connectors.

3. Glass
– LCD Screen: The glass from LCD screens can be recycled and reused in various applications.

4. Rare Earth Elements
– Neodymium: Used in magnets, such as those found in hard drives and speakers.
– Yttrium, Europium, and Terbium: Found in displays and lighting components.

5. Battery Components
– Lithium: Extracted from lithium-ion batteries.
– Cobalt: Used in battery electrodes.
– Nickel: Also found in batteries.
– Manganese: Another component of lithium-ion batteries.

6. Circuit Boards
– Silicon: From the integrated circuits and chips.
– Fiberglass: Used in the construction of circuit boards.

7. Miscellaneous Materials
– Rubber: From keyboard keys and other flexible parts.
– Ceramics: Used in some electronic components.

8. Reusable Components
– Hard Drives/SSDs: Can be wiped and reused or have their materials recycled.
– RAM Modules: Can often be reused in other devices.

Optical Drives: If still functional, they can be reused or repurposed.
– Power Adapters and Chargers: Can often be reused with other compatible devices.
– Environmental and Economic Benefits

Recycling laptops is a last resort for MBH and wherever possible we choose a reuse recycle path but when recycling is required we not only conserve valuable resources but also supports environmental sustainability by reducing the need for new raw materials, saving energy, and minimising waste. By effectively recycling and reusing materials from old laptops, we can contribute to a more sustainable and circular economy.

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