We all know our electronics are valuable. Our tech products are often very expensive, and most of us take precautions to protect them from any damage. While we might appreciate having nice electronics, many of us don’t understand exactly how valuable they are. 

On the outside, all we can see of our electronics is glass, plastic, and common types of metal. None of this comes off as being extremely important or valuable. However, inside your devices, you can find many precious materials. Knowing this now, you might be wondering what precious metals are in electronics and are old electronics worth anything.

Understanding what materials are used in your electronics is important to help people realize the need for them to be recycled responsibly. Keep reading to learn more about the most used metal in electronics and how we should be recycling precious metals from electronics. 

Commonly Found Precious Metals in Electronics

Precious metals are rare, naturally occurring metals with a high economic value. We normally think of precious metals used in jewelry, such as gold and silver, because they are expensive luxury items. 

If they are so rare and valuable, then why are they being used in electronics around the world? 

The simple answer is precious metals are often excellent conductors of electricity. Each type of precious metal used in electronics has its own value, and the reason that type of metal is chosen is its performance over other metals.

someone wearing blue gloves disassembling a smartphone

Let’s take a look at the precious metals we can often find in electronics and why they are used. 


Most people associate gold with being an extremely expensive and valuable metal, and it isn’t something you’d think about being in your electronics. However, gold is found in many devices we use today, like cell phones and laptops. Gold is often used in coatings for touch-sensitive display screens, platings for semiconductors, and in connectors on motherboards. 

Only a small amount of gold is used in most devices, but when you consider the huge number of devices out there, it quickly adds up. 


Nearly every electronic today is bound to contain silver. This precious metal is affordable compared to other metals and is extremely conductive, making it the perfect choice for many electronics. It’s usually found around solders, contacts, relays, and switches. Silver paste is also used in cell phones, tablets, and microwaves. 


Copper is used in many electronics, from small devices to large appliances. You can find copper in motherboards and wiring. The major reason that copper is used in so many electronics is its conductivity.

Other Metals in Electronics

Besides the precious metals in electronics mentioned above, modern electronics contain many other metals and materials. Here are two of the most common and their causes for concern. 


Lithium isn’t a metal that most people think of often, but you likely use it daily. You can find lithium in most rechargeable batteries. Today, lithium is used in batteries of all sizes, from cell phone batteries to electric car batteries. 

Lithium-ion batteries also contain other metals, such as cobalt, nickel, and manganese, which are very toxic to the environment when thrown away in a landfill. 


Of course, everyone knows the dangers that lead can have in certain conditions. In well-maintained electronics, lead doesn’t pose much of a threat. Lead only becomes a serious concern when electronics are disposed of improperly. 

If electronics are exposed to the elements, they can leak harmful toxins into the soil, so services like cell phone recycling are extremely important.

an e-waste recycler taking apart an old television screen

The Importance of Recycling Precious Metals from Electronics

If you had a small piece of precious metal, you probably wouldn’t throw it in the trash. Now that you know how valuable the materials in your phone are, you know that it’s extremely important for them to be recycled. 

These precious metals used in electronics are non-renewable resources. This means we only have limited quantities of these metals, and once they’re gone, we won’t be able to get them back. 

Your electronics are filled with valuable metals, and tossing them in the garbage is extremely wasteful and dangerous for the environment, not to mention illegal in many states. By using resources like a computer recycling program, you know that none of the precious metals in your devices are going to waste or polluting the planet. 

Recycle Precious Metal from Old Electronics with Newtech

Landfills are already filled with old electronics that contain precious metals, but you can help prevent more from ending up there. When you contact a certified e-waste company like Newtech for technology disposal, we recycle precious metals from electronics and ensure nothing ends up in a landfill. 

Are you a business looking to recycle old electronics responsibly? Contact Newtech Recycling to learn more about the recycling programs we offer. We currently serve New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York.