You might wonder how much gold is in a flat screen TV, knowing that many electronics get dipped in gold or sealed with it.
You won’t find much reclaimable gold in a single flat-screen TV – only about 20 cents worth.
Some sets contain up to 60 cents worth of precious metal, making the endeavor of reclaiming gold only a viable undertaking for those wanting to establish a company to do so on a grand scale.
Industrial operations use scraping machines to efficiently reclaim tons of scrap each hour.
Flat-screen TVs do share some features with computer monitors, but computers contain different circuit boards.
You can also obtain copper wire, aluminum, and metal screws from these flat-screen TVs that you can sell for scrap.
Why Precious Metals?
Both copper and gold conduct electricity.
For this reason, electronics manufacturers use them in the building of many devices, including TVs, computers, microwaves, etc.
Copper conducts electricity better than gold, but gold does not corrode.
Pure gold also provides a more malleable material which makes it easier to use in the creation of electronic wires and conductor units.
Gold is also a chemically inactive element, so it works better in devices requiring multiple elements.
Large Scale Operations
How large-scale of an operation would it require to make significant money from reclaiming gold or other precious metals?
Let’s take gold as an example.
To reclaim 500 grams of gold, you would need to disassemble more than 1.1 tons of circuit boards.
This does provide a simpler way to obtain gold than mining it.
Mining 1.1 tons of gold ore results in two to three grams of gold.
With respect to other precious metals, you can also obtain the metals more easily by reclaiming them from within a TV.
You would, however, require one ton of circuit boards from televisions or computer monitors to extract the same amount of precious metals as you would running a mining operation to extract 150 tons of commercial-grade ore.
While you could theoretically make money by scraping old TVs for their metals, you would need an unending supply of free TVs because purchasing used ones would erode your profit.
You also would need to undertake the scrapping project on an industrial scale.
You don’t have to be a major corporation to do this though.
You also do not have to be in perfect health.
One small Chinese town with a number of residents born with birth defects began a scrapping operation.
It provided simple work one can do seated that requires little education and no degree.
While that town did not bother with the proper permits, it did manage to import a massive number of defunct TVs and other electronic devices.
If you want to do this in your garage though, you won’t make enough money to warrant the effort.
It takes about ten minutes to pull apart the monitors or TVs.
Since you only make between 20 and 60 cents of gold and typically less than a couple of dollars for the rest of the metals, doing this on your own does not make sense.
You also need special chemicals to separate the gold and misuse of them can harm you and ruin your reclamation project.
Also, the prices of scrap metals fluctuate. Today, one pound of copper or aluminum might fetch you $3, but next week it could fall to $2.
An Easier Way to Make Money from Used TVs
Since many companies know that TVs have this residual wealth of precious metals, they willingly pay a few dollars for your scrap materials.
These operations usually reclaim more than just the precious metals.
You still won’t make a mint off of selling your device for scrap.
If you voluntarily haul off large numbers of monitors or TVs for an organization such as a hotel or school, you can sell these in bulk to a scrap dealer for a few dollars.
They will then handle the reclamation of precious metals.
Where Does Gold Go After Reclamation?
After the scraping operation reclaims the gold, copper, aluminum, and circuit boards, it resells the raw materials back to industrial manufacturers.
These manufacturers recycle it for use in new products.
Best Buy, for example, will pick up your old electronic devices for no charge.
Their website explains that they will use your items in a reclamation/recycling project.
Why Do They Recycle Gold You Ask?
While sunshine is a renewable resource, gold and other precious metals are not.
In the very near future, the mining industry will have withdrawn all of the known gold from the earth.
Once the gold has all been mined, the industrial processes requiring it will need to replace it.
Since only the actual substance works like gold, industry needs to reclaim what it can.
That means reclaiming the gold that was already used in old products and recycling it, so new products can be made with it.
Starting an Operation
Each person in your operation will need a power drill with hex and screw bits and wire cutters plus wire strippers.
This project also requires gloves and a razor cutter.
Gather a few five-gallon buckets for sorting the metals.
You must wait seven days before disassembling a TV after it has been unplugged because it will still have an electrical charge.
You risk shocking yourself otherwise.
Remove the back cover and discharge the TV’s capacitor.
You should find at least two circuit boards on the TV.
In older TVs, you can find a copper yoke on the tube.
The degassing coil may be made of copper.
Saving all of the screws used in the TVs adds up.
Within about two weeks, you can save 40 to 70 pounds of scrap metal screws.
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