How can I reuse or recycle broken computer motherboards?

motherboardWe were around at our friend’s house the other night when John spotted a very cool looking piece of computer circuitry in the bin – a broken motherboard.

I’ve been wanting broken circuit boards for repurposing for a while – but there were too many big plastic slots/connectors on it for what I had in mind (namely using pieces of the circuit board to make jewellery or large flat pieces as notebook covers).

What else could be done with it? Are there any companies/organisations that specifically collect them for cannibalising/reuse/recycling or should they just be disposed of with other electronic waste?

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21 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle broken computer motherboards?”


  1. I’ve seen some companies use them to make lamps, although I’m not sure how easy that would be to duplicate. You can see them here: http://www.uncommongoods.com/item/item.jsp?source=family&itemId=14821

  2. anna says:

    Jewelry! you can make nice jewelry pieces from logic boards.
    Or coasters.
    Or tables.
    Or any big surface if you need a mosaic. And the chips can be cut away and use for other decoration.

    One of my favorite materials to repurpose :)

  3. Nicole says:

    If you could cut a hole in the middle, could be a picture frame.

  4. Bobbie says:

    One Christmas for our work tree, I made ornaments with pieces of computer boards. I used a saw to cut them up, then added big fake jewels which gave them some sparkle. Everyone loved the tree as it was especially appropriate for the IT (computer) department.

  5. Hi there!

    Many Goodwill retail stores will take computers and parts (including circuit boards) free of charge. The Goodwill in northern New England (Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont) will take old circuit boards and safely recycle them.

    Thanks!
    michelle.smith@goodwillnne.org

  6. ME says:

    Be careful about how you use electronic parts, especially for jewelry. A lot of electronic components contain mercury or lead or other metals that while safe inside an enclosure, can be toxic after prolonged direct exposure.

  7. Joe says:

    Give it to your local computer geek/robot builder (like me). Any electronics guy or ham or anyone like that will be more than happy to take it off your hands (we salvage very useful parts off of them). And for goodness sake, DON’T put it on anything or near anything that will be touched right before eating or drinking or stuff, because it is very very likely that, unless it is RoHS complient(which is a standard that came out a while ago that means you can’t use lead in products) , it has lead in the solder which practically covers the whole board (see all that silvery stuff). For heaven’s sake, don’t put anything in your mouth right after you touched it…wash your hands first!

    P.S. If the solder doesn’t have lead in it, then it almost certainly has antimony in it, which another toxic substance.

  8. We have someone on Freecycle in the Wirral in the North West of England who recycles computers and posts them for free on the site, I have noticed he has often requested parts. So it might worth seeing if there is a similar enthusiast in your area who likes the fun of building computers from parts.

  9. The Portal in St Mary Street in Edinburgh has used motherboard all over the entrance doorway.
    http://www.wasteinnovations.com/portal.php ( it is a useless website because it has not been updated in months but will give you address etc)

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thats a typ of scrap theyll pay u for it googel scrap or recyceling

  11. Lucy Brannon says:

    Visit http://www.awarefiners.com. We process all precious metal bearing scrap including circuit boards and offer a free of charge collection service

  12. Chicago Joe says:

    Great advice. I dont know how many times I have to tell people the very same things. Glad I’m not the only one.

  13. robin says:

    I am after Circuit boards! I am a London based Artist collecting Circuit boards for a new series of sculptural works using redundant technologies.

    I’m also on the scrounge for large quantities of floppy disks, vhs tapes and old computer type stuff. – email me for further info and to arrange collection.

    robino81@hotmail.co.uk

  14. some great ideas for reusing, word of advice also beware when disposing of the button battery used to store the cmos data on the board, this is a lithium battery that is hazardous waste. If you cant find a reuse or recycling please take to your local council run waste recycling centre for them to recycle.

  15. recycler says:

    on dirty jobs there was a company you could send them to so they can reuse or properly dispose of them
    the name escapes me

  16. If your in the North East of England and would like some information on recycling your old motherboards (or any electrical items) check out weeerecycleelectronics.co.uk by clicking on the link on my name.

  17. Checkout RecycleChicken.com (www.recyclechicken.com) :: RecycleChicken is an online searchable directory of where to take anything and everything for recycling and reuse in your area. The RecycleChicken directory provides recycling and reuse locations that are Beyond the Curbside.

    They are a great bunch of folks trying to help the environment – Derrick Douglass – ChiefRemixOlogist – ThiftStoreRemix

    http://www.recyclechicken.com

  18. The processor, Memory Boards and CMOS battery can all probably be reused as computer spares on other systems.

  19. I agree with the CMOS battery issue. While the board mainly consists of copper and other precious metails the Lithium battery can be highly hazardous to the environment.

    Many computer recycling companies will dispose of the boards for you, however supermarkets in my area have a battery collection point where you can responsibiliy bin your old batteries.



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