The U.S. throws out nearly 200,000 personal computers every day. Add to that cell phones, tablets, and all of the bits and pieces in each and you have a lot of trash.

Enterprising minds have found ways not only to keep much of this trash out of the landfills but to make a lot of money off of it. The electronic scrap (e scrap) business is booming. So how does it work and how can you get your piece of this lucrative pie?

Read more for a brief overview.

How Does It Work?

The Institute of Scrap and Recycling Industries, Inc. estimates that one ton of e scrap contains as much gold as 17 tons of gold ore. But gold isn’t the only thing worth salvaging from this type of scrap material. These old parts also contain valuable metals like tin, copper, and lead.

Scrap yards across the country take all kinds of this e scrap and pay handsomely for it. Generally, they are better equipped to strip the valuable metals from the computing components for later sale.

How to Get Started

If you want to get started making money from e scrap, there are a few things you’ll need to do. First, find a scrap yard near you that accepts the stuff. Each yard that does has different requirements and lists of acceptable material. They’ve likely got a price list, as well.

Check to see if they take computers as whole units or if you’ll need to strip it to individual parts (memory chips, motherboards, hard drives, etc.). Often, yards that take them will pay more for individual parts than for whole units.

When you’ve found a yard that meets your needs, you’ll need the inventory. Fortunately, there are many places you can access it for free as previous owners just want it taken off their hands. Try Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace to find people trying to dump old hardware.

You can look for bigger hauls at local businesses as they update their equipment (servers can be especially fruitful). Schools and colleges often need mass upgrades, as well. Ask around, be patient, and be willing to travel little and you can score large volumes.

Recycling is a big business in the U.S. and it is only growing as the country tries to be more environmentally conscious. E scrap is one of the recycling avenues that is widely untapped, as of now. If you can make the right connections, you can make a lot of money while keeping harmful waste out of the landfills.

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