How a Computer Repair Shop Cleans Up on Used Electronics

Many computer shops will do more than just fix your computer problems. Some of them will offer recycling services in order to help you get rid of your unwanted and broken electronics

While this may seem like a great service to help the environment, they are actually cleaning up more than just reducing the garbage in the landfills. Many of these computer repair shops are making extra money by handling your “trash.” As you may live in an area that has laws making it illegal to throw away electronics, these companies look like angels. How are they cleaning up on stripping down electronics?

1. Fees – When you recycle your used and broken electronics with some of these computer shops, you might have to pay a fee to them. While these fees may be small, the fear of getting a $500 fine, or how ever high it is in your area, may be motivation enough to pay. Some of these fees could be around the $25 range in order for you to drop off your junk to these computer repair shops. There are a lot of these shops that will even take TVs, DVD players, game systems and more. Afterwards, do you really know what happens to these items once you pay your fee and leave? As these computer shops have to get rid of these items too, are they exempt from local laws that will give fines for throwing away electronics? No.

2. The Recycling Process – There are a lot of components within any particular electronic device that can be recycled. Take computers for example. Inside these boxes of fun and entertainment is a large selection of precious metals and recyclables that can pad anybody’s wallet. If you pull these out and sell them to specific recyclers in bulk, you could add to your savings account to help buy the newest game console that makes you drool. Aside from the plastic in the computer, things that can be sold of for the extra cash consist of:

  • Metal cases
  • Hard drives, motherboards, RAM, CD ROMs and any other component with an electronic board
  • Aluminum and copper heatsinks
  • Processors

After stripping these parts out, the computer repair shop can then send them to the proper recycling plant and receive a check in the mail. Essentially, the computer shop is getting paid twice for your junk.

3. Offset of Labor – If confronted with the fee, some computer repair shops will try to tell you that the fee is there to offset the labor it takes in order to strip your stuff down. However, it shouldn’t take a computer repair shop longer than 10 minutes to pull any device apart, let alone a computer system. After these parts are essentially ripped out of the device, they are thrown into a box until it is heavy enough to ship out. Since printing a shipping label may take you about five minutes, these shops are making a decent amount of money for the time spent. If you gave the computer repair shop $25 to get rid of your broken stuff, you are paying them more than $100 per hour. This isn’t including anything they make from recycling. As I have worked at a computer repair shop, I know how long it takes to break various electronics down for recycling.

4. The Payout – Companies can be found by anyone on the Internet that will pay for your broken electronics. Although the payout will vary depending on what the company wants and how much of it you have, it’s quite easy to make a decent amount of money from selling it in bulk. Since the computer repair shop can get a lot of these junk electronics from the community, the payout can be quite high.

The next time you see a sign that reads, “We’ll take your junk electronics off your hands for $25,” realize that you can be on the receiving end of getting a payout from these recycling companies. Just keep in mind that it takes quite a few pounds in order for the payout to be worth the time. Otherwise, it would be like taking a single pop can and calling it your aluminum collection.

This is a guest post by Liz Nelson from She is a freelance writer and blogger from Houston. Questions and comments can be sent to: liznelson17 @