A circuit board is a computer component that supports electronic components and acts as a carrier for electrical connections of electronic components.

These components are often referred to as printed circuit boards or PCBs because electronic printing is the process to make them.


Printed circuit board (PCB) and printed circuit board assembly (PCBA) are two terms often used synonymously with “circuit board.” However, there is a difference as a PCB refers to a blank circuit board, while a PCBA relates to a board that contains other electronic components that allow the board to operate. A PCBA is essentially a PCB with additional electronic components.

Types of PCBs

There are many types of circuit boards manufactured differently and using different materials. The most common types of PCBs are:

  • Single-layer PBCs: a solder mask coated with a single layer of conducting materials with silkscreened marks for components.
  • Double-layer PCBs: smaller than single-layer PCBs and more flexible, double-layer PCBs include a layer of conducting material on the top and bottom of the board.
  • Multi-layer PCBs: includes more than two conductive layers and are intended for more complex functions.

Other PCB groupings include Rigid, Flex, and Rigid-Flex PCBs. These have more to do about the versatility of circuit board materials and different aspects of functionality. Each new feature includes other materials and components.

Where are Circuit Boards Found?

All modern electronic devices include circuit boards. PCBs are in PC motherboards, memory sticks, mobile devices, controllers, appliances, LEDs, medical devices, industrial equipment, agricultural equipment, aerospace components, and safety equipment, to name a few things.

Circuit Board Materials

PCBs materials include fiberglass, composite epoxy, other laminate materials, and conductive materials like copper. Circuit boards have tin-lead coatings to prevent oxidation on the contact fingers of their outer edge and coat the circuits themselves. Some manufacturers may add nickel and gold to increase conductivity.

Circuit Board E-Waste

Increased use of electronics means an increase in e-waste (electronic waste). It can be confusing for some people on the best method to efficiently and responsibly dispose of PCBs. Some products containing circuit boards can be harmful to the environment and must be safely handled and discarded.

Circuit Board Recycling

When it is time to get rid of old electronics, the best thing you can do is reach out to an electronics recycler. Not all recyclers follow the same protocols or are R2 Certified, though, meaning that your data or materials could end up in the wrong hands.

R2 Certified companies are certified by Sustainable Electronics Recycling International (SERI) Responsible Recycling. SERI created this certification to make a standard for responsible recycling of electronics, including circuit boards.

Why Is It Important to Recycle Circuit Boards?

Recycling old electronics has four significant benefits:

  • Helps Protect the Environment

The more electronics you recycle, the less that results in a landfill, potentially leaking pollutants or toxins into the environment.

  • Reuse of Resources

Repair people can use parts from electronic components to repair other electronics, especially if those parts are no longer being manufactured or are hard to find.

  • Improves the Economy and Saves Money

Reusing materials and components reduces the cost of production for many manufacturers, which (in theory) reduces the product’s price on the consumer or business.

Working with a certified R2 Recycler like New Tech Recycling ensures responsible handling of all your electronic devices during the disposal process.

Don’t settle for anything less; to work with a reliable partner who adheres to the R2 standards and aims to protect the environment and the well-being of your information, contact Newtech Recycling today!.

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