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How to recycle scrap electronics for cash in 2024

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If you have old electronics sitting around your home, you may be able to recycle them for cash for the precious metals they contain. However, the quantities are small, so it usually makes sense if you have a lot of electronics to recycle.

There are roughly 0.016 grams of gold in one smartphone.1 At today’s gold price, per gram, that would be worth about $1.

If you have a lot of electronic scrap at home or in your business, this post will explain:

What is electronic scrap?

Electronic scrap, or e-scrap, describes the valuable parts of electronics after you can no longer use them. Whether you are upgrading a laptop or smartphone, or if you have electronics that no longer work, there may be value in the parts.

These are some common electronics people may be able to recycle: 

  • Cellphones
  • Smartphones
  • Desktop computers
  • Laptop computers
  • Computer monitors
  • Tablets
  • Circuit boards
  • Hard drives (internal and external)
  • RAM memory (IC chips, processors)
  • Printers
  • Scanners
  • Fax machines
  • Copiers
  • Keyboards
  • Mice
  • Docking stations

When you recycle electronics, you should do so responsibly. This means removing personal data from your devices, including laptops, smartphones, and tablets. 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises you to transfer your data to a safe place such as:

  • Physical, external hard drive
  • New computer
  • Encrypted cloud-based storage service like Google Drive, Dropbox, or iCloud2

After confirming your data is safe, you can erase your hard drive, which is also known as a factory reset. This will erase all data. You can find instructions on how to do this from your device’s manufacturer. 

If you plan to recycle your devices but not sell them, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises using a certified electronics recycler like GreenerGadgets or Call2Recycle.3 These recyclers use responsible, eco-friendly practices and ensure data destruction.

Of course, you’ll want to scrap your items responsibly, and that also means ensuring your personal data is protected. That’s why it’s so important to choose an electronics scrap business that offers secure data removal from the electronic devices you wish to scrap.

Electronic scrap prices

Some parts of your old electronic devices could be made of scrap metals like: 

What you’ll earn when recycling electronic scrap devices changes based on what precious metals are inside, their weight, and the current price of those metals. For example, some electronics components like motherboards, circuit boards and processors, contain more gold, palladium, and copper than other electronics.

For perspective, based on the average smartphone containing 0.016 grams of gold, it would take about 63 smartphones to recover one gram. However, you’d only need 10 laptops to recover the same amount.4 

Where to find a “scrap yard near me” to sell scrap metal in 2024

Precious metals in electronics: List of items you could recover for gold and more

Precious metals like gold and silver are used in phones, computers, keyboards and other devices, which means you can get back some money recycling parts and cut down on environmental waste.

Gold in cellphones

You can find gold plating throughout old cellphones and smartphones — especially expensive models. Gold is often used because it doesn’t corrode and conducts electricity well. 

While some parts are plated in gold, others are made of gold. This will vary depending on your phone, but in general you can find gold in or on:

  • Connectors
  • Wiring
  • Circuit boards
  • Chips 
  • SIM cards

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, older cellphones contain about 0.034 grams of gold.5 (though the amount will vary slightly by phone model — newer models contain less gold).

Gold in computers: What computer parts have gold?

Computers are an excellent source of gold because they are larger than cellphones. That means the parts are heavier. The higher the weight in gold, the more money you can make.

You can find gold in:

  • Circuit boards
  • Motherboards
  • Hard drives

The older the device, the more gold it likely contains. That’s because older electronics like VCRs, camcorders, and scanners tend to have larger components.

Start by going through your home to look for unused electronics, and ask family and friends if they have electronics they no longer use or want.

You can also join groups like Freecycle or post an ad on Craigslist or Nextdoor requesting old electronics. 

Electronic scrap yards also have junk computers that you can take parts from, free of charge. Be sure to look for old servers and mainframes from businesses, as they contain multiple hard drives, circuit boards, and motherboards.

Here's a video on scrapping a computer tower:

16 ways to get rid of old appliances

Gold in computer circuit boards

Circuit boards provide a lot of small, intricate gold parts. These pieces of gold are often woven throughout the boards. Dell Technologies reports you can likely get 5 troy ounces of gold per ton (2,000 pounds) of P.C. circuit boards.6

Gold in computer motherboards

Motherboards — a circuit board that contains the principal components of a computer or other device — offer a lot of gold parts, such as connectors, ports, pins, and sockets. Since motherboards are larger than other circuit boards, you can typically get more gold from them.

Gold in computer hard drives

Old hard drives are full of metals such as gold, silver, copper, aluminum, and palladium. They contain many parts that professionals can extract. Connector pins and other contacts usually have gold plating, as do circuit boards in hard drives.

Palladium in computers

There are very small amounts of palladium in computer parts. You’ll usually find it in hard drives and circuit boards.

Is it worth it? Should you extract gold from electronics?

The following lists the average amount of gold found in common electronic devices and how much it's worth based on current gold prices, though most electronic scrap buyers won't pay you the full value of your gold if they have to extract it from an assembled device:

  • Older cellphones – 0.034 grams, about $2
  • Smartphones – 0.016 grams, about $1
  • Desktop computers – 0.2 grams, about $12
  • Laptop computers – 0.1 grams, about $6

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Electronic buy-back businesses and programs

Unless you have a large number of old electronics — for instance, if you own a company and want to upgrade all of your office computers — you won't make a lot of money selling electronics for scrap.

To get the best offer for your scrap electronics, check with an electronics buy-back dealer or program. These places will pay a set price for your unwanted electronics, no matter the quantity.

Amazon trade-in

Amazon trade-in pays you for eligible used electronics. In turn, Amazon refurbishes and resells them. If your item is not eligible for trade in, Amazon offers free recycling of your unwanted electronics. You must have or register for a free Amazon account to get started.

Amazon accepts:

  • Amazon devices such as Kindle or Fire TV
  • Smartphones
  • Game consoles 

Amazon provides:

  • 10-20% trade in promotional discount towards a new device
  • Amazon gift card with the cash value for the offer
  • Trade-in tool to give you an estimate of what your cash offer will be
  • Free shipping via UPS or use an approved local drop-off within 45 days of offer
  • One promotional discount per customer account per 90-day calendar quarter (starting Jan. 1, Apr. 1, Jul. 1, and Oct. 1) 

You can make up to five device trades in one transaction but only two of the same device in a calendar quarter.

What people think about Amazon trade in

Although Amazon is BBB-accredited and has a B rating, it has poor reviews. It has 1.16 out of 5 stars from over 3,700 reviews with the BBB and a 1.7 out of 5 rating on Trustpilot based on more than 29,000 reviews.

On Reddit, some have expressed that the trade in program:

  • Could use better communication in customer service
  • Lost its items during shipping

But there are others Reddit users with positive experiences trading in electronics. They also noted that Amazon worked to fix any issues when things didn't go as planned:

Best Buy trade-in

Best Buy offers a trade-in program for used electronics at most locations. They accept electronics in any condition except very poor. If the item’s value cannot be found in their trade-in estimator tool, Best Buy offers free recycling.

Best Buy accepts:

  • iPhones
  • iPads
  • Apple notebooks
  • Laptops
  • Samsung smartphones
  • Google Pixel smartphones
  • Microsoft Surface
  • Gaming consoles and hardware
  • Headphones
  • Smart watches
  • Streaming devices

Best Buy provides:

  • Online offer estimator
  • Cash offer issued via a Best Buy gift card
  • Limited-time deals and discounts with trade-ins
  • In-store trading at participating locations
  • Online trading (as approved by Best Buy if your local store does not take trade ins)

There is a three-item limit of same-model electronic devices and a five-item limit for same model cellphones in a calendar year (12 months).

What people think about Best Buy trade-in

Best Buy has been accredited since 1970 and carries an A+ rating but only a 1.07 out of 5 stars based on more than 2,250 customer reviews. It doesn’t fare well on Trustpilot either, with 1.3 out of 5 stars from more than 5,600 reviewers.

Experiences shared from Reddit users, although few, are mostly positive, and say that the process was smooth, fast, and easy.

Buyback Boss

Buyback Boss buys used cellphones in any condition. It also buys a range of other electronics, listed on its site.

Buyback Boss accepts:

  • Smartphones
  • Macs
  • Laptops
  • PCs
  • Drones
  • iPads
  • Tablets
  • Apple watches
  • Game consoles
  • TVs
  • Monitors
  • Cameras

The list of items they buy is extensive, so it is best to use their quote wizard tool to see if your item is listed.

Buyback Boss provides:

  • Instant quotes using an easy online tool
  • A free, prepaid shipping label to mail your devices
  • The ability to sell multiple devices at one time
  • A 14-day price lock on the offer
  • Payouts to your bank, through PayPal, or on a gift card
  • Payments issued once item is accepted and verified (usually takes seven business days)
  • Free return of the item if you don't accept an updated quote based on condition

What people think about BuyBack Boss

Buyback Boss is accredited and A+ rated with the BBB and has 4.46 out of 5 stars from customers. On Trustpilot, it has an excellent rating with 89% of its reviews at 5 stars.

On Reddit, several users recommended Buyback Boss to a user who wanted to trade in an iPhone. Some said the process was easy, but others complained about lowball buyback offers after Buyback Boss received the item. One user pointed out that the reviews on Trustpilot were overly positive and therefore not trustworthy.


Decluttr is a BBB-accredited business with an A rating that buys and sells electronics. To sell on Decluttr, you must list at least one electronic item worth more than $5. The company accepts electronics of all conditions (good, poor, or faulty). You must register for a free account online or through the Decluttr app to get started.

Decluttr accepts: 

  • Smartphones
  • iPads
  • Tablets
  • Macbooks
  • iMacs
  • AirPods
  • Headphones
  • Speakers
  • Game consoles
  • Smart watches

Decluttr provides:

  • A free instant evaluation of everything you want to sell
  • A 28-day price lock on the offer
  • Free return of your items if the offer changes
  • Free shipping and insurance through Decluttr shipping partners like the UPS Store
  • Three payment options: direct deposit, PayPal, or donated to your favorite charity

What people think about Decluttr

Decluttr is a BBB-accredited business with an A rating and 2.97 out of 5 stars from customers reviews. It has an excellent rating on Trustpilot, with 4.3 out of 5 stars from over 27,000 reviews.

Some Reddit users say that Decluttr:

  • Changes the cash offer after they receive the items
  • Is not the best place to get top-dollar for your old electronics
  • Is better for getting rid of old DVDs, CDs, and video games

ecoATM Smartphone kiosks

If you’re near one, you can use an ecoATM kiosk to get cash for your unwanted smartphone. There are over 5,000 kiosks across the United States. They are in stores like Walmart, Dollar General, and Kroger.

ecoATM accepts:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Mp3 players

Some ecoATMs do not accept tablets. Check the location finder to know before you go.

ecoATM offers:

  • An online payout estimator and a seven-day price lock when you use the ecoATM app
  • Instant evaluation of the smartphone at the kiosk for a final cash offer
  • An instant cash payout when you accept the offer

What people think about ecoATM

On Trustpilot, ecoATM is rated as average with a 3.6 out of 5 stars from over 4,500 reviewers. Currently the BBB profile for this business is being updated.

There’s a lot of talk about ecoATM on Reddit. After combing through several Reddit threads, the consensus is that the company:

  • Sometimes has kiosks that malfunction, taking your smartphone but not giving you the cash and has poor customer service to address the issue
  • Has very low cash offers


ItsWorthMore is an electronics trade-in business that also sells refurbished devices. You must create a free ItsWorthMore account to get started.

ItsWorthMore accepts:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Laptops
  • Desktops
  • Smart watches
  • Game consoles
  • Graphics cards
  • Cameras
  • Apple audio equipment 
  • DJI drones
  • Virtual reality equipment
  • Monitors

ItsWorthMore provides:

  • An instant quote tool for your electronics
  • A free shipping label to mail your items
  • Expedited payouts via PayPal, Zelle, and digital check within two business days of approval (approval takes four to seven business days)
  • Payouts via physical check in five to 10 business days after approval 

What people think about ItsWorthMore

ItsWorthMore has mostly positive reviews. It is BBB-accredited with an A+ rating and 3.62 out of 5 stars. The business has 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google, 4.8 out of 5 stars in Sitejabber, and Trustpilot reviewers give it a 4.6 out of 5 stars.

One Reddit user shared a positive experience using the service, calling out:

  • Good pricing
  • Fair evaluation
  • Good customer experience
Reddit user shares a positive experience selling electronic on ItsWorthMore.


OCBuyBack purchases used electronics but also sells refurbished cellphones.

OCBuyBack accepts:

  • Smartphones
  • Cellphones
  • Tablets
  • iPods
  • Smart watches
  • GoPros
  • Game consoles

OCBuyBack provides:

  • Free prepaid shipping label
  • A box to ship your items (if you don’t have one)
  • 14-day offer guarantee
  • Payment by check or PayPal sent one business day after item receipt
  • Unlimited items to sell (contact them for sales of 50 devices or more)
  • Free returns if you don’t accept the final offer

What people think about OCBuyBack

OCBuyBack is accredited and has an A- rating with the BBB with 3 out of 5 stars from two customer reviews. It has an excellent rating on Trustpilot with 4.8 out of 5 stars, but many of the 5-star reviews are from people who submitted one review on Trustpilot. It’s good to check out reviewers who have submitted multiple reviews on different businesses.

OCBuyBack has an excellent rating on Yelp, with 4.4 out of 5 stars. Most reviewers shared that they had a good experience and got a fair price.


SellCell has been around since 2008 and guarantees the most cash for your used phone. That’s because they compare prices from more than 40 buy-back companies so you can choose the highest offer. They do not buy the devices but act as a comparison site to help you choose a buyer. They accept phones in any condition.

SellCell accepts:

  • Smartphones
  • Cellphones
  • Tablets
  • Apple devices
  • Smart watches
  • Gaming consoles
  • GoPro
  • Amazon Kindle
  • Wireless headphones
  • Smart home devices

SellCell provides:

  • A fast offer comparison from multiple buy-back businesses
  • Best price guarantee
  • SellCell pays double the difference if you find a higher offer on your own

What people think about SellCell

SellCell has an excellent rating of 4.3 out of 5 stars on TrustPilot but there are only eight reviews. SellCell doesn't have a BBB profile. There are a few mentions about SellCell on Reddit but no dedicated threads. Mostly, Reddit users mention it as an option to sell a used cellphone.

How to safely extract gold and more from electronics

The gold parts in old cellphones, smartphones, and computers are often very small and require professional help for extraction. That’s because gold extraction typically involves extreme heat and chemicals like nitric acid. Check out this video from BBC Earth Lab that shows the extensive process: (CFES), has the resources to handle recovering other precious metals like silver or copper. CFES, operated by BBB A+-rated CJ Environmental in Canton, Mass. works with businesses, schools, and individuals. 

If you are a business or school that has a large volume of scrap electronics, you can arrange for a free pickup by CFES in the New England or tri-state area including: Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Or, you can ship your electronics to CFES for free via FedEx or arrange for free freight shipping to the corporate office in Canton, Mass., by filling out the request form on You can usually expect to receive a check within 10 business days of receipt and appraisal.

Individuals with a few items to scrap, can contact CJ Environmental for a prepaid, insured mailing label. You can call or fill out the online quote request form. Once they receive your e-scrap and appraise its value, they can mail you a check or deposit funds via PayPal as fast as 24 hours.

In addition to electronic scrap, if you have gold and silver jewelry you no longer want, you can trade it in for cash at or, our top choices for selling gold, silver, and other precious metals online. This is why:

  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau
  • 24-hour payouts
  • 10% bonus if shipped within 7 days
  • Price match and free return guarantee
  • Insured up to $100,000 by Lloyds of London while held (plus up to $5,000 through Jewelers Mutual Insurance while in transit)

Get an offer today from CashforGoldUSA >>

How to scrap circuit boards for gold and silver

The largest amount of gold on a circuit board is on clean gold fingers. They are narrow, shiny connectors that run along the edges of circuit boards.

To scrap a circuit board for gold and silver:

  1. Unscrew your laptop or computer (make sure it’s unplugged from any electrical outlets). You can Google “how to open your laptop” and add the brand and model for specific instructions. For example, “how to open your Dell Inspiron 15 laptop.” 
  2. Locate the circuit board you wish to remove. You’ll need a small screwdriver made for electronics, which can be found in any hardware store.
  3. Remove the screws holding it in place.
  4. Detach any connections.
  5. Take the circuit board out of the computer.

How to scrap motherboards for gold

To scrap a motherboard, you also have to remove it from its device:

  1. Unplug and open the laptop or desktop computer, following Google instructions for your specific model.
  2. Locate the motherboard. The motherboard is a very large circuit board. You can search Google for “how to remove a motherboard” for help. 
  3. Using the proper-sized screwdriver, remove the screws that connect the motherboard to the computer.
  4. Disconnect any attachments like cables and wires that feed the motherboard.
  5. Take the motherboard out of the computer.

You can also go to the manufacturer’s website to download a product manual or contact their customer service department by phone or email if you need more help.

How to scrap a hard drive

A hard drive’s scrap value can vary, depending on whether you have the included circuit board or not. 

To remove the hard drive:

  1. Open the desktop or laptop computer. 
  2. Locate the hard drive. Hard drives look like a large rectangular box, and are often encased in metal.
  3. Detach any connectors.
  4. Remove any screws holding it in place.
  5. Pull the hard drive out of the computer.

Where to recycle e-waste and old computers for cash

You can recycle your old devices by mail or in-person at an electronic scrap yard — search ​​”electronic scrap yard near me” — or through a reputable online scrap electronic buyer like CJ Environmental.

Since electronic equipment does not break down in landfills, recycling e-waste and old computers for cash is a smart way to reduce waste, remove clutter from your home, and earn money. (CFES USA) is a reputable option for businesses and schools to recycle old electronics. It’s run by CJ Environmental, which boasts an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

CFES USAs offers top-dollar for electronics scrap. They also provide proof of data removal and secure destruction upon request.

CJ Environmental helps businesses and individuals recycle e-waste, old computers, cellphones, and other electronics for cash.

Electronic scrap yards “near me”

If you want to work with a local business to recycle your electronic scrap, search Google for “electronic scrap yards near me” to see a list of local electronic scrap yards. 

You can contact the scrap yards to find out if they pay for scrap, as some actually require a fee to scrap certain items, much like companies that help you get rid of junk.

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FAQs about scrapping electronics like a computer for cash

Are electronics worth scrapping?

That depends on how many unused electronics you have and whether you have the knowledge/ability to extract the valuable parts within them. If you have a single cellphone, for example, you may only get about $2 for its scrap content.

Electronic scrap buyers will pay you more for individual parts like hard drives or the gold fingers they contain than unassembled electronic devices because of the work it takes to extract their metal content.

If you are looking to make real money scrapping electronics, you’d have to scrap items in bulk. If not, e-scrap can be an occasional way to make a few extra dollars.

How can I get money for old electronics?

Work with a reputable business like CJ Environmental to recycle your old electronics for cash. Once your item is received and appraised, you can expect a payout in as little as 24 hours via paper check or PayPal.

Which electronics contain the most gold?

Older, large electronics have the most gold inside of them. Think Betamax, large VCRs, and outdated, bulky desktop systems or network computers with multiple hard drives.

How much is a scrap laptop worth?

What a scrap laptop is worth depends on what shape it’s in. According to, a non-working laptop with a good screen (no cracks) can go for as much as $1.10 per pound. Laptops can weigh between 2-8 pounds. If the laptop screen is broken, you can get $0.70 per pound.7

How much do circuit boards scrap for?

Circuit boards come in all sizes and functions, from laptop motherboards to small cellphone boards. If you are able to extract and clean parts like gold fingers, you could get as much as $40 per pound according to and you can expect anywhere from $0.20 to $14 per pound for most circuit boards.8

How much do circuit boards scrap for?

Circuit boards come in all sizes and functions, from laptop motherboards to small cellphone boards. If you are able to extract and clean parts like gold fingers, you could get as much as $40 per pound according to You can expect anywhere from $0.20 to $13 per pound for most circuit boards.

What should I do with an old TV?

You can recycle a TV for cash, whether it is old or you just don’t need it anymore. You can sell older model televisions, also known as tube TVs and projection TVs, as well as newer models like flat screens and LED TVs on sites like:

  • ebay
  • Craigslist
  • OfferUp
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • VarageSale

Or, you can search for “TV repair shops near me” to see if a local business is willing to pay you for your TV.

If your TV is broken, you can likely still get cash for it because some buyers are interested in scrapping its parts. Just be very detailed with your description and take lots of pictures if you sell it online or through an app.

What is electronic scrap?

Electronic scrap, or e-scrap, describes the valuable parts of electronics after you can no longer use them. Whether you are upgrading a laptop or smartphone, or if you have electronics that no longer work, there is still value in the parts.

What computer parts have gold?

You can find gold in: circuit boards, motherboards, and hard drives.

Are electronics worth scrapping?

If you need a few extra dollars and have in-demand parts like gold fingers, a gold-fingered RAM, or certain gold cap computer chips, yes it is worth it. With those kinds of parts, you can make anywhere from $40 to $175.

Which electronics contain the most gold?

Older, large electronics have the most gold inside of them. Think Betamax, large VCRs, and outdated, bulky desktop systems or network computers with multiple hard drives.

How much is a scrap laptop worth?

It depends on what shape it’s in. According to, a non-working laptop with a good screen (no cracks) can go for as much as $1.35 per pound. Laptops can weigh between 2-8 pounds. If the laptop screen is broken, you can get $0.80 per pound.

How much do circuit boards scrap for?

Circuit boards come in all sizes and functions, from laptop motherboards to small cellphone boards. Some have high-end parts like gold fingers that will get you as much as $40 per pound according to You can expect anywhere from $0.20 to $13 per pound for most circuit boards.


  1. “Metallic resources in smartphones.” ScienceDirect. October 2020.
  2. “How to Remove Your Personal Information Before You Get Rid of Your Computer.” July 2022. Federal Trade Commission Consumer Advice.
  3. “Certified Electronics Recyclers.” February 27, 2023. United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  4. “How Much Gold Is in Your Computer and How Efficient It Is to Reclaim It.”  Interesting Engineering. Jun 21, 2023.
  5. “Recycled Cell Phones—A Treasure Trove of Valuable Metals.” U.S. Geological Survey.
  6. “How Much Gold is in Smartphones and Computers?” Dell Technologies.
  7. “ current payout rates per pound.” January 27, 2024. Boardsort.
  8. “ current payout rates per pound.” January 27, 2024. Boardsort.

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