How to earn an income with catalytic converter recycling

how you can earn income with catalytic converter recycling

What is a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter recycling process is complex but it can be incredibly rewarding, both for the environment and for the seller. But before we get into how you can earn money with catalyst recycling, let’s start by defining what a converter actually is.

When a vehicle’s engine is running it burns fuel which produces toxic gas 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.

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.

Where you can find catalytic converters.

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

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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 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.

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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.