Another common question we get at show is: “Are these boards recycled?”
Oh man, I wish!
I absolutely would recycle old computers into awesome blinky jewelry, if I could.
Those shiny gold lines aren’t just for decoration. They carry electricity, and how they are connected together determines how the circuit functions. A circuit board from your cell phone wouldn’t work as blinky jewelry because it is connected specifically to make a cell phone work.
We design our jewelry from the bottom up to function efficiently as twinkling, solar powered awesome-sauce for your wardrobe.
“But what about the components on top of the circuit board? Couldn’t you up-cycle those?”
Again, I would love to.
However there are millions and millions of possible electronic components on a circuit board. Check out the digikey catalog. Removing and sorting them from old circuit boards would be a monumental task requiring thousands and thousands of people. Each component would need to be tested to determine what it is and if it still functions.
It is more economical to dissolve or melt them down in large batches to extract the valuable metals. I wish more e-waste was recycled like this.