catalyic converter recycling topic page
catalyic converter recycling topic page

What is catalytic converter recycling?

Catalytic converter recycling is a process that benefits the environment greatly. However, the positive impact it has on the planet is often overlooked in industry discussions as the primary objective for the seller is to earn an income.

Discussions are usually centred around fluctuations in the price of the precious metals involved; platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

When catalytic converter recycling companies talk about the recycling process for catalytic converters, we often dismiss what impact it has on the environment.

Why do we need catalytic converters?

Pollution from the automotive industry grew at an alarming rate during the 20th century, with vehicle emissions becoming cause for worldwide concern and contributing to global warming.
The catalytic converter was invented around 1950 by Eugène Houdry to scale back the environmental impact of toxic gases such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide gas.

By the 1970s it was mandatory for car manufacturers to include catalytic converters in the development of all new road vehicles. This requirement soon spread across the world as governments and academics began to understand the harmful effects of such gases on the environment.

How does scrap catalytic converter recycling benefit the environment?

In recent years technology has improved to the point that we can now achieve a platinum group metal recovery rate of over 95%. This is largely due to the improvement of refining facilities like Bacmetall’s.
The three main benefits of recycling scrap catalytic converters are:

The preservation of finite resources

Reusing recycled components lowers the burden of extracting new materials from the earth through the exhaustive mining process.

A reduction in waste sent to landfills

Converters that are no longer used usually end up in landfills. Recycling catalytic converters prevents these components from taking up landfill space and from breaking down into tiny particles that can get into and pollute water sources.

Customers can earn an income by selling scrap catalytic converters

The precious metals found in catalytic converters make them valuable assets that can provide a high return on investment. Each converter has a different quantity and grade of material, which we analyse carefully before making our customers an offer.

Where can a catalytic converter be found?

Once you have the appropriate knowledge and tools (like our free app), the second biggest challenge is finding local suppliers of catalytic converters.
You can find catalytic converters in the following places:

  • Local scrap yards
  • eBay as used automobile parts
  • Exhaust repair shops and muffler companies
  • Performance enhancement garages
  • Auto mechanics
  • Used car dealers


The basics of catalytic converter recycling pricing.

If catalytic converter recycling is done correctly, in most cases, it will be compensated well.
Naturally, the question of “how to get it right?” arises.
It boils down to the most basic sales technique. Buy low, sell high.
Although it may look fairly simple from the outside there are plenty of factors that will influence the price of the catalytic converter.

What influences the price of selling catalytic converters?


  • How many grams of each precious metal does it contain?
  • What is the precious metal market price per gram? *Pd, Pt & Rh metal markets*
  • What are the refining charges?

Vast knowledge or access to a lot of information is required to understand what a good catalytic converter price is.

Each car brand, model, engine type, country the car is made in, power, will have its own catalytic converters.

Try to imagine how many unique catalytic converters there are… millions. That should give you an idea about the volume of information a collector faces.

Selecting your trusted catalytic converter buyer will play an important role in your successful collector journey.

But don’t worry, we are here to help. Bacmetall provides you with helpful guidelines and a hugely useful catalytic converter catalog in the form of our free mobile app.

What is a catalytic converter?

Vehicle emissions are what a car emits through its exhaust system. When a vehicle’s engine is running it burns fuel which produces toxic gases as by-products. This includes nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide gas.
The catalytic converter was invented around 1950 by Eugène Houdry to scale back the environmental impact of these toxic gases.
This invention has helped make emission from the vehicles less harmful to the planet.
Catalytic converters did not become so widely popular until more stringent emission control regulations were implemented globally.
A catalytic converter is a part of the car’s exhaust system. It is most commonly found attached to the motor before the exhaust. However, as there is a huge number of different brands, models, and types of cars, the location of catalytic converters may vary.
It is not uncommon to find more than one catalytic converter in a car’s exhaust system.

Do hybrid cars have catalytic converters?

Yes, hybrid cars have a catalytic converter. Any road legal vehicle with a combustion engine should have a catalytic converter installed.
Catalytic converters in hybrid cars usually function for a longer period with the aid of electric power.

Information about non-household waste management of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

The European Commission forecasts an annual flow of waste for electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) by 2020, which will exceed 12 million tons and almost a third more than in 2005 (9 million tons).
The crossed-out wheeled bin symbol indicates that this product must not be disposed to the household waste. This waste must be collected and disposed separately using waste for electrical and electronic equipment collection points. By following these instructions, you ensure that the waste is disposed of properly. This will help reduce the potential impact on the environment and human health.

EEE may contain hazardous substances (e.g heavy metals) that may be harmful to the environment and human health if released into the environment. Most heavy metals are carcinogenic, mutagenic, teratogenic, and neurotoxic to humans. They cannot be eliminated, but rather accumulates in living organisms. Heavy metals enter cells and tissues in the human body, bind to proteins, and nucleic acids, thus destroying these macromolecules and their functions.
Where possible, a product of EEE should be re-used. Why not to give an old phone to others, take it to charity, or exchange it for another with your telephone company?
If re-use is not possible, all separately collected EEE must be sent for recycling. Recycling waste of EEE helps to preserve our natural resources and protect the environment. Saving our planet’s resources is firstly about sustainable use, saving materials, and reducing their impact on the environment. The most important thing is to make the right decisions that can ensure the quality of life not only now, but also for future generations.
UAB Bacmetall has entered into an agreement with licensed electrical and electronic equipment waste management centers, therefore the disposal of non-household EEE purchased from us will not cost you anything. If you have any questions or would like to book disposal of your EEE contact us.

Why you should be recycling catalytic converters?

The extraction and preparation of precious metals is an extremely exhausting process for our planet.
It takes huge effort to extract rare metals from the earth. Many complex activities are involved in the process – deep tunnel digging, transport, chemical treatments and more.
By recycling catalytic converters correctly we help to reduce the stress our planet endures during these activities.
Not only is it a great way to help our planet to become more sustainable, but it is also a great opportunity to earn extra money or develop a second stream of income.



What is the minimum volume of catalytic converters you can sell?

The answer to this question varies from one refiner to another.
Some companies buy from 1 piece to a 100, while others only accept a minimum of 1MT.
Bacmetall has a minimum lot quantity of 100kg or on average 100 units of used catalytic converters.

The catalytic converter recycling process.

Catalytic converter recycling is a closed economy. Briefly, car manufacturers enrich ceramic “honeycomb” with 3 rare precious metals: Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium.
These include palladium which functions as an oxidation catalyst, rhodium as a reduction catalyst, and platinum which performs both of those functions simultaneously.
After that, the honeycomb is placed into a metallic shield and placed in the vehicle. Once it gets used to the point that it no longer works – once it has been in use for over 120,000 miles for example – the catalytic converter turns ineffective.
But the mileage differs from car to car and from converter to converter. Once a used catalytic converter is removed, it can end up in numerous places. This is where collectors play a vital role in the process.

Step one.

First converters need to be collected from the scrapyards, car dealers, mechanics, exhaust repair shops, etc.
Once collectors decide to sell their catalytic converters they need to find processors or refiners that have specific licenses to perform catalytic converter recycling. The processors and refiners then use specific machinery designed to refine/recycle the catalytic converters.
The refining process starts with de-canning activities. This way, precious metals and steel or stainless-steel housing can be reclaimed.
There is an almost 100% recovery rate of all these metals.
The catalyst ceramic block (Honeycomb) is picked up by an air separator, which carries the small solid pieces and automatically drops them into large holding bags.

Step two.

This refined material is then sent to the smelter which is designed specifically to smelt catalytic converters.
The materials are then ground further to reduce their size before smelting the ceramic waste in furnaces. This process separates the non-metallic components (ceramics) from the three precious metals.
Once melted, the nonferrous recoverable metal content is removed. The precious metals that remain are cooled and solidified, before a multi-stage chemical separation process creates a purified version of platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Step three.

The final stage of the recycling process occurs when the refinery sells the purified precious metals to various manufacturers and industries — not limited to those building catalytic converters.
It’s estimated that 80% of the demand for PGM’s (precious grade metals) is derived from auto manufacturing industries.
However, other applications include industrial raw materials such as nylon and synthetic rubber, jet engines, missile parts, consumer electronics, and jewelry.
Find out more about our process and get in touch today.

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Links to other related blog posts:

How to earn an income with catalytic converter recycling 

Why catalytic converter recycling benefits the planet 

How does the closed economy of catalytic recycling work? 

Testimonials from our customers:

“Fantastic company with hard work and honesty offering all guaranteed support help but export fair price a better reference in catalyst purchases I am very happy with the work of Bacmetall Evelina and all the support is given congratulations to Evelina and all her team bac metal I am very happy with the personalized service success everyone”.

Client from Brazil 

“It was a really smooth experience in working with Bacmetall as we received our payment really fast and analysis results before it was expected, and looking forward to doing more business in the future.”

Client from the Arabian region

“The best company to work within the business of catalytic converters and purchasing manager spoke my language made it easier to understand the whole process and the most accurate prices and the results. I want to choose Bacmetall every time for future business.”

Faiz Mohammed