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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 1:05 pm 
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The reality is nobody is going to let you walk in and see the financial breakdown day one. I’ve been scraping for more than two decades. It took about 5 years before someone told me what they sold something for upstream.

The easiest (but expensive) way to find actual values is to sign up with a large industry service like Argus to get the top level source rate and the bottom level consumer rate.
Source, as I’ve used it before above, is basically a cleaned resource that is above 95%-98% pure. Stock is anything below that down to about 50-ish percent.
Feed is anything still salvageable below 50%
And shred is waste that isn’t really worth recovery.
Shred without a metal attached is usually is used to refer to crap that is simply added in low grade steel melts. Placing the metal before it, other than steel, is more specific. Such as nickel shred which is used in electronics as the alloy for plated pins. Brass shred is melted and can be used as costume jewellery and bells, buttons etc. Aluminium shred gets turned into railings and siding. A shred melt creates a new alloy melt that won’t deter from the basic properties of the named metals. And these are just random examples.
Aluminium furniture is also made from AL shred. Etc
So take the listings from something like Argus as your target spread. Then you can take a commercial commodities index to watch the prices for the future. And adjust based on those three numbers.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 11:44 pm 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:00 pm
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I'm not trying to be rude, but some of my questions are pretty basic.

Thank you for suggesting Argus. Really, thank you.

China for example. China has a serious problem with regulation enforcement, incineration included. The country has become the world's dumping ground, and because of poverty, there are thousands of small-time scrappers doing things like burning tons of material, illegally, every day. But it won't go on forever as the government cracks down on them, and they'll need alternatives to make a profit. Electronic scrap and recycling is a huge industry, not only because other major countries like the US sell their recyclables to China, but because China is one of the largest electronic manufactuers in the world.

If you don't speak Chinese ; at least Mandarin, Cantonese, and Pinyin ; then good luck ever being able to find what you're looking for unless you're willing to fly over to the country for a few weeks of vacation and do some looking around. The alternative is to have a friend or two that lives in the country that can do the networking and contact potential sellers for you. You won't find leads online.

That being said, China isn't known for producing quality products. If I buy 10 tons of board scrap from China, but those boards are all domestic products, then they may not meet the same standards as a board made from a large manufacturer like Asus or EVGA or an Apple product. Without making some purchases and getting some lab tests done, I don't really have a clue if what I'm paying for will meet my expectations. Profit margins are slim. If I'm only able to squeeze $100 per ton in gross profit out of -X- material because of cheap manufacturing versus, let's just say $150 or $200 from the big brand products (just random numbers here), then that could wreck my whole business model. No risk, no reward, right? It's a gamble for me at this point. --- Gold fever? On razor thin profit margins to begin with? Yeah... I doubt it.

The world, America included, is giving away its precious metals to countries like China. This is turning into a gnarly episode of the tv show Hoarders. China's back yard looks like something out of a Jeff Foxworthy joke.

Pay attention to the news and the tariffs and embargo war going on. China clamped down on plastics and some other recyclables about 8 months ago. It's something like 1% of contaminants allowed per ton of plastic that is sold. In all of the back and forth, you'll notice that electronic scrap never comes up. Why? Probably because the Chinese are smart and they know that hoarding precious metals is a smart decision to make. The problem is, they have so much of it now it's becoming an environmental hazard.

... Recycling is a bit of a joke to me. At least it was to me once I realized just how much trash is told right back to countries like China, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc. Trash that people like us put in our green little recycling bin on the curb for the trash man. Then it goes right down the supply chain ... to China.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 1:56 am 
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I’ll quickly correct two things. Quickly.
1) the majority of non-escrap recycling is actually housed in Central Europe. Germany has the majority Of post consumer paper. The UK holds the largest input reception of plastic (a big issues for another post later). Textiles head directly to the Philippines. Glass and most metals rarely leave the US.
2) The thought of China as the world’s dump is out-dated. That’s drastically changed since the late 90s. Mainland China stopped most general trash imports completely in 2011. Poor Hong Kong SAR has been holding inbound containers since then taking up, and as a result shutting down, entire ports. Hong Kong started turning away recycling shipments in 2018. Most now goes to the Thai-Viet countries.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:06 am 
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Quote:
Ceramic dust is easier to work with than dust from those stupid plastic IC chips.

Only if you’re sole upstream buyer is a refinery for pm alone (who I pointed out is NOT paying for non-pm which they sell separately.
Everyone here knows I am a man of my word. and I’ll put up a certified quarter ounce bar of gold to anyone who can verifiably walk into a yard day one with a 50gal drum of milled IC powder and get anything better than ‘recovery’ rate for it.
Only guideline is the yard must be older than 6 months!

Let me be as specific as I can be based on this thread as a whole
Milling ICs, which was not where this was a few posts ago, is good
Milling boards, bad
Milling entire electronic devices =stupid

Again: I’ve been lucky enough to deal with a reputable honest refiner. Two of the largest top tier scrap companies in this country. And everything and anything below that level.
What you’re trying to do won’t work as you have it laid out. I’m trying here to guide you in what you’re trying to do so you can still have some level of chance at success
You’re obviously not one of those deluded gold gold gold fools I see over on the GRF or LoGS.


Honestly at this point I’d suggest you email me directly.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:06 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:21 am
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To be honest I wasn't going to post here no more, but I changed my mind, mostly because of the admirable example set by Lostinlodos.... not often, online, you get to stumble upon someone who is not only very knowledgeable, has a great understanding of things but is also willing to share this treasure with others, no strings attached... I'll try to offer what little experience and knowledge I have in hopes to learn more from our friend Lostinlodos...



Excuse me in advance if I seem abrupt or rude, for some reason you annoy me a bit :) (It's not you, it's me, probably)

ZK77 wrote:
I somehow doubt the EPA is going to come knocking at my front door for burning a board or two for a YouTube video.
I still somehow doubt that Big Brother is going to come knocking on my door for incinerating a motherboard or two for a video. How dare I pollute the environment without investing in industrial scrubbers and proper licensing? Give me a break.


It is the principle of it; Do you also litter if nobody's watching? Don't even attempt it without proper certification. And even then, no licensing system is perfect, understand thoroughly what are the risks involved, why would you want to pollute your home, your land? You seem to like to watch youtube, why not watch some videos on environmental disasters in africa, for example, caused by e-waste....

ZK77 wrote:
Basing what I'm purchasing on Boardsort's pricing, even if I turned around and resold material back to them, with shipping, I would come out ahead.


It is statements like these why I have hard time taking you seriously, you mean to tell me, you expect to buy PCBs in China, ship them over to Texas, USA, then ship them to sell to boardsort at their prices and come out ahead? Does that even seem real to you? Where's the logic in that? Why would they sell to you? Can't they see the price-list on internet? Are they willingly trying to get less money? This is the stuff the internet scams are made of....

ZK77 wrote:
At some point you knew nothing about any of this. Start from there?


Ok, this quote from you is what got me turned around - I actually feel you; Not too long ago I felt pretty much the same - that there is some kind of secret in global e-waste trade/recycling , some information deliberately not being disclosed, etc. I felt that there is much more value to this scrap than buyers (like boardsort) are paying, that their margins are huge; So I actually set out to find out for myself...
After a year+ of searching, experimenting, etc. I've come to conclusion that there is no "secret" at all, it is just like any other business, governed mostly by pretty simple laws of economics and logic, it is fun enough business, I am staying in it, but my initial mindset has since changed dramatically... If you want I can share my journey with you, even if just for feedback from someone wiser than me and you - maybe I'm not "enlightened" at all, maybe I'm just brainwashed in to oblivion, Lostinlodos will set me straight ;)

But before, please share with me (us) your expectations and outline your plan in detail once more, so there is no confusion: What it is exactly you are trying to do and why do you think it is a good idea?


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 4:35 pm 

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lostinlodos wrote:
the majority of non-escrap recycling is actually housed in Central Europe


Are you sure about just the non-escrap? To my knowledge Europe is leading the world in copper recycling (what basically all escrap is...) ? Sure, there are large smelters and refiners in Asia and Americas, but I'd bet Europe comes out ahead...


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 5:36 pm 
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Arturs wrote:
lostinlodos wrote:
Are you sure about just the non-escrap? To my knowledge Europe is leading the world in copper recycling (what basically all escrap is...) ?


Yes quite. Based on multiple documentaries (BBC/PBS etc) and personal contacts. But I believe you’re confusing the term escrap with the term scrap. Let my pull from a recent post the photo here
Attachment:
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As it is this is escrap. Remove just the transformers and you have “escrap” and “electrical waste”. Yes e is electronics, I’m just using what terms are printed on receipts from yards. Lol
Now break that transformer down. Cut the square housing off. Steel, or more likely a high grade iron here. Remove the plastic cover and unspool the copper. That’s likely a #2 or #3 coated copper. And the core. Ferrite, hematite, iron, or an iron ceramic.
Now none of those are escrap. The UK, Thailand, and Vietnam are the current, today, largest escrap importers. The UK being a transitional state where items are sorted better and exported. But the UK is only temporary. Their waste laws are outdated, the system is gamed, and they are working on fixing that at a government level. They’ll get there eventually... closing some of the loopholes in classifications which will make commercial level imports less easy. Right now the UK, England specifically, has a nasty loophole on classing waste exports that allows bringing in hazardous materials like escrap and making some sorting changes, then exporting them as non-hazardous. Collecting on UK and EU credits for reducing hazardous waste. :facepalm:
Channel 4, I believe, did an extensive report on the mess.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 09, 2019 6:16 pm 
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As for the secret? There is one and I gave it away on page 1
The pyramid.
Let’s use nice easy numbers that are totally made up to follow how this works.
Scrap company by you buys electrical waste for 10č and 25č per lb. so a refrigerator or computer will be 10č and loose boards and wire connectors fall into 25č

So they sort out computers from microwaves from boards from....
But don’t break anything down. Now they send the big stuff to a steel specialist yard. Those refrigerators. For 20č
And the computers to an electronics or copper focused yard for 50č per pound.
So our magical computer weighs 10lbs.
The guy at the corner bought it for $1 and sold it for $5.
The second yard has a staff that takes crap apart. So let’s say they take out a 2 pound motherboard. And 2 pounds of wire. And 2 pounds of other boards. 2 pounds of components like drives and PS. And the case weighs 2 pounds

So they sell two pounds of steel for a penny a pound.
$0.02

They sell two pounds of #2 wire at 75č.
$1.50

They sell two pounds of of components for 50č
$1.00

They remove the cpu and sell the two pound motherboard at three-thirty
$6.60

They sell the two pounds of boards at one-fifty
$3.00

And the one ounce cpu at seventy five per pound
$4.69

$16.81

Their highly trained employee took it apart in 30 minutes and makes $20 per hour.
-$10
So they recouped $6.81 from the sale. Assuming there were zero shipping costs as this is an easy to follow fantasy
They made $1.81 on the transaction.
So for 10 computers they make 18.10
On 100 it’s $181.00!
You now can see how that worked into a business.

So the component company bought 2 pounds for a dollar.
They strip that 2 pound floppy disk drive and get 1.5 pounds of aluminium
90cents.
Half a pound of copper.
$2
So they have $2.90 from it, a profit of $1.90
Let’s follow this. The aluminium the aluminium specialising yard bought is sold to an aluminium producer for $1. And the copper buyer sells the $2 of copper for $2.50
The copper is melted and purified, melted, purified... and then formed into blocks. A slightly under half a pound of copper is now sold (as part of the block) for $4 as a pure commodity.

Let’s follow the motherboard.
So we have a $6.60 motherboard that weighs 2lbs.
The sorted computer board company sells that board for $$7 to a salvage company that works for a refinery. Let’s say it’s a lazy company. They take the board, drop it in a feed shoot that literally slices off every component at the board level. They mill the board separately, compress it into a block, and burn it
They take the transformers and sell them to the guy on the corner for 25č per pound. Aluminium capacitors for 10č per pound. The battery at 2č pp.
Etc. They mill the ceramic and plastic components. Then pass the powder up to their parent company the refinery. ICs, CMCs, ceramic resistors, processors... all that gets refined. They get about $7 in silver, copper, and nickel. Another dollar or two in gold. And about 50c of ceramic. The plastic waste is cleaned and burned as fuel. In a much larger amount... this is profitable as the waste byproducts keep the melting vats running, the electricity flowing, and the heat or AC on.

There’s no big secret. Other than most keep their buyer private. Or else you would just go to them instead.
That’s all the more there is to it.

The numbers and weights above are nonsense. But they work as an example of how reality is.

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-- my grades are my own and do not represent an offer from boardsort, nor are they guaranteed. Please keep that in mind.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:04 am 

Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 2:00 pm
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Let's tackle this incineration argument, beyond just e-scrap. We are not going to argue about profit, if there even is any. This is only about regulations and legislation and the legality of the incineration of e-waste.

I found resources for the laws that revolve around the incineration of medical waste, which most translate over to e-waste and other hazardous materials as well. I also spoke with my engineer buddy and asked him to find me some resources since his spouse works at a facility that uses incinerators for medical waste, which falls under the same hazard classifications, in most cases, as e-waste.

https://www.tceq.texas.gov/permitting/a ... incin.html

Rotary Kilns & Liquid Injection: the two most common incinerators.

Both are common, both are legal. And outside of passing an EPA inspection, which must be done annually, there isn't much else that I've found (yet). With double-chambered injection units, the second chamber works as the scrubber and super heats the gases and exhaust. This process will destroy PCB's and it is legal. And this works for what Texas considers Category 1 through 4. Which is also probably why Texas houses the majority of the country's incineration facilities. There may be other scrubber requirements that I find later, but that stills doesn't change the legality of the operation with the right equipment. Yes, it can be done.

The EPA spiel on medical waste: https://www3.epa.gov/ttn/chief/ap42/ch0 ... c02s03.pdf

Waste Classification in Texas
https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assistance/w ... ixq42.html

Can I incinerate e-waste legally in my state?
Yes. Yes, I can.

Is it worth the investment?
Maybe not. But at least this clears up the argument.

As long as the incinerators are registered, inspected, and maintained, there are no other regulations that I have found thus far that tell me I can't burn a motherboard without killing myself everyone on my block.

--- I'll catch up on reading the rest of the responses later this evening. Thank you for the responses, Lodos.


Last edited by ZK77 on Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:27 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 10, 2019 12:16 am 
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ZK77: that’s all you need to do. Build your unit. Make a call. Get (and pass) an inspection. Have at it.

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