A number of stores and companies buy old circuit boards, including The Refining Company Inc, B.W. Recycling Inc, and C.J. Environmental Inc. These companies purchase circuit boards because the boards contain a variety of precious metals including gold, silver, palladium and copper.
Companies that purchase circuit boards begin the selling process in different ways. Some companies ask the client to fill out a contact information form, after which the company contacts the seller to discuss the transaction. Other companies ask the seller to immediately print a prepaid shipping label and send the circuit board for inspection and payment. The Refining Company advertises competitive quotes based on photos of the seller's available boards. Most companies do not offer an immediate price online, citing dynamic pricing of precious metals and the variability in metals contained in each circuit board.
Most of the companies that purchase circuit boards purchase them not just from computers, but from a variety of electronic devices, including in-car electronics, cell phones, telecommunication devices and other devices that contain a circuit board. Some companies, such as B.W. Recycling, harvest and refine the precious metals directly, without using a third-party refinery. Many of the companies, such as The Refining Company, buy individual pieces of a circuit board – for example, connector pins – even if the seller does not have an entire circuit board to sell. Because precious metals conduct energy efficiently, most circuit boards contain a significant and valuable amount of such metals.