Recycling Integrated/Embedded CPU Circuit Boards

Nov 18, 2022 | E-Cycling

Every year, we produce about 40 million tons of old computers and other electronic waste. Due to the high number of electronic waste produced today, people are encouraged to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards and recycle the integrated CPU motherboard because these materials are salvageable. Recycling electronic waste is just as significant as recycling metal or plastic; do it to take care of the environment.

Today, firms are finding it beneficial to recycle their computer scraps because it helps them reduce their imprint on the environment. This means reusing the integrated CPU motherboard and finding ways to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards.

Here is a guide on everything you need to know about breaking down, recycling, and reusing important elements of your computer.

Importance of recycling integrated/embedded CPU circuit boards

Some of the benefits of recycling integrated CPU motherboards and circuit boards include:

Recycling protects the environment

Various parts of a computer like the integrated CPU, circuit motherboards, and embedded chips are made of materials that contain mercury, carcinogens, and lead. When old or faulty computers are dumped in landfills, the lead, mercury, and carcinogens leach into the soil, waters, and the atmosphere, thereby polluting the environment.

In addition to polluting the environment, these hazardous materials are harmful to plants, humans, and animals. An integrated CPU motherboard and circuit boards may also contain precious metals, such as copper, gold, palladium, and silver, which can be extracted and recovered during the recycling process.

Recycling helps firms to sustain resources

During the process of recycling, different parts of the computer are disassembled and broken down into materials that can be reused in new computers. For instance, the metals obtained from the chips, integrated CPU, and circuit boards can be reused to create the parts of a new computer.

By recycling tons of their old computers, firms will be able to save more money compared to buying new computers. Moreover, there are computer retailers that offer trade-in deals and discounts to firms that bring in old computer parts when buying new computers.

Process of recycling integrated CPU motherboard and other computer parts

According to a report issued by the United Nations in 2019, the amount of electronic waste produced each year will reach 120 million tons in the year 2050 if firms will not take advantage of recycling. This shows that electronic waste will be problematic in the future if proper recycling techniques are not adopted by industries.

The process of recycling an integrated CPU motherboard, circuit boards, and embedded chips among other parts of a computer include:


This is the first step of the recycling process and it involves collecting computer parts through take-back programs, recycle bins, or collection services. Once all the electronic waste has been collected, it is transported to specialized recyclers for sorting.

The recyclers then separate the important parts of the computers from other types of electronic waste. This is why you may notice different recycle boxes or bins for various items at collection sites. For instance, electronic wastes that contain batteries are put in separate bins away from computer waste because the batteries may damage the rest of the waste.

Sorting and dismantling

In this stage, the computer parts go through manual sorting procedures whereby each of the parts, such as the integrated CPU motherboard and circuit boards, is taken apart from the rest to be processed separately.

During this manual sorting process, different parts of the CPU are dismantled for recovery or reuse. Dismantling also allows hazardous components of the computer to be put aside for proper disposal. The circuit board cables are also removed manually to be disposed of appropriately.

Most recycling plants use technology to carry out image processing in order to identify whether to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards as well as other CPU parts and separate them from the toxic components.

Manual dismantling of computer components is more effective compared to automated disassembling of the components. This is because automated disassembling does not completely remove hazardous substances from the recycling process.

As a result, large amounts of toxic substances are moved to the next recycling process, which leads to a huge dispersion of pollutants. Toxic substances would otherwise decrease the quality of the recycled materials. This is why electronic wastes are sorted and dismantled in the beginning stages of the recycling process to eliminate the hazardous materials.

Mechanical separation

The next stage of the recycling process is mechanical separation, which is made up of the following steps:

Magnetic separation

Under magnetic separation, the electronic waste passes beneath a gigantic magnet, which extracts ferrous metals, such as steel and iron from the waste. In some cases, an eddy current is used to extract the nonferrous metals. The embedded chips, circuit boards, and plastics are separated in the following steps:

Water separation

Once all the metal materials have been removed from the electronic waste, only glass and plastic materials remain. Water is then used to purify the waste in order to separate the plastic from other contaminants.


In the recovery stage, the materials are processed on-site in order to be sold with other usable computer components that were separated from the waste in the first stage of recycling.

How to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards

Apart from recycling them, you can reuse integrated CPU circuit boards for various functions, especially if you have only one CPU. Some of the creative ways to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards instead of recycling include:

Selling the circuit boards

If you have several old computers at home, you can dismantle the CPU and sell the circuit boards at any hardware store. The average price of a second-hand circuit board in the market today is between $15 and $25. We also recommend approaching companies that manufacture or recycle electronic gadgets. Such companies may buy your old circuit boards at a good price.

Once you find a good way to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards, ensure that you recycle the other components of your computer instead of throwing them into the trash can.

Donating the circuit boards

If you are a business that wants to get rid of its old computers, you can donate them to organizations or schools instead of throwing them away. You can also donate the computers to computer repair shops that will find ways to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards.

Get creative with the circuit boards

If you have a creative mind, you can reuse integrated CPU circuit boards to make interesting DIY items around the house. For instance, you can get innovative and use the circuit boards of your old computers to make unique notebook covers.

Cut two pieces of circuit boards into the size of your notebook and ensure that they are of equal length. Take a hole puncher and make holes in the circuit boards. Keep in mind that punching holes will require some energy and a lot of patience. Once you are done with the holes, attach spiral binders to the circuit boards to create a tech-savvy notebook.

You can gift the notebook to your friends or sell them to make more money. Another creative way to reuse integrated CPU circuit boards is to create beautiful green frames for your photos. The green color of the circuit board will definitely complement your photos and give them a futuristic look.

What is Embedded CPU harvesting?

Embedded CPU harvesting is a part of the recycling process whereby the integrated CPU motherboard, circuit board, and circuit breakers are carefully set apart from other components of the CPU and carefully taken apart. The steps of embedded CPU harvesting include:

Select the integrated CPU motherboard and circuit boards for harvesting

When selecting the integrated CPU motherboard, ensure that you are very careful about the type of motherboard to use because it will influence the type of prototyping you do. You can either choose an integrated CPU motherboard with through-hole components or surface-hole components.

Boards with analog circuitry tend to be excellent for embedded CPU harvesting because they have high-quality trim-pots, op-amps, and digital logic.

An integrated CPU motherboard with a conformal coating is not the best for embedded CPU harvesting because its tough coating makes it difficult to extract the embedded chips.

Get the right tools for embedded CPU harvesting

Integrated IC chip harvesting needs to be done over a metal tray that will catch the parts falling off. This is because ic chip harvesting requires you to use heat to loosen the embedded chips from the motherboard, and the metal tray will ensure the chips don’t get lost.

Moreover, since you will be using heat during the embedded CPU harvesting process, ensure that you have a welding glove, grip pliers, and safety glasses. We recommend using a heat gun or a butane torch as a source of heat.

Additionally, you need tools that are great at grabbing tiny things if you want a successful ic chip harvesting process. You can use needle-nose pliers, hemostats, slip joint pliers, and ic pullers for an easier embedded CPU harvesting process.

Get started on harvesting the integrated CPU motherboard

The best way to get started with embedded CPU harvesting is to examine the integrated CPU motherboard carefully and come up with a strategy. Firstly, remove the fasteners securing the chips to the board. Once you remove the fasteners, heat the board evenly and gently beneath the integrated CPU motherboard component that you want to remove.

You will realize that some chips will fall out of the integrated CPU motherboard after melting the solder, so ensure that you have the metal tray in place. Use the heating and tapping technique to remove as many parts as possible from the integrated CPU motherboard.

Use the needle-nose pliers to remove the tiny capacitors from the board when carrying out embedded CPU harvesting. The slip joint pliers are excellent for extracting the ICs from the board. The small needle nose pliers are effective in removing SMT parts from the board for a quicker embedded CPU harvesting process.

Places to take your computer for recycling

There are various places where you can take your integrated CPU motherboard and other computer parts for recycling. Here are some of the places:


Staples is an office supplies store that also recycles old electronics for free. In fact, the store accepts up to 7 items for recycling per customer. If you have a set of laptops or computers that you no longer need, you can take them to Staples for recycling. Other items that Staples recycles include:

  • Webcams
  • Mobile phones
  • Adapters
  • Routers
  • Cables
  • Tablets

The company also provides haul-away options, which means that they can come and pick up the computers from your office.

Electronics Take-Back Coalition

The Electronics Take Back Coalition program connects you to over 25 companies in the United States that take back electronics from people and businesses for recycling. Some of the companies in the coalition include:

  • Sony
  • Lenovo
  • Apple
  • Acer
  • Panasonic
  • HP
  • Dell

In addition to CPUs, you can turn in smartphones, monitors, mice, keyboards, cameras, and TVs for recycling.

Get started with CJD E-Cycling today

If you are located in Illinois, CJD E-Cycling is the best recycler to work with in disposing of your computers. We are an EPA-approved collector that has been in business for years helping people recycle their electronic products. We are the most reliable recycler to work with because we follow all the laws and regulations of the State of Illinois. Some of the other services that we offer at CJD E-Cycling include:

  • Tailored pickup services
  • Bulk data destruction
  • Data center decommissioning

Call us today to learn more about embedded CPU harvesting and get started on recycling integrated CPU motherboards.