Catalytic Converter Recycling—A Potential Market in United States

Posted at June 10, 2019 » By : » Categories : Blog » Comments Off on Catalytic Converter Recycling—A Potential Market in United States

If you could clearly see the skyline in your city and breath quite easily in an urban area without any difficulty, you should consider thanking those who do catalytic converter recycling. A catalytic converter is a device that serves to control exhaust emission by catalyzing a redox reaction. It converts toxic gases to less-toxic gases coming from an internal combustion engine. The device is coated with several chemicals and a mixture of platinum group metals like palladium, and rhodium. Automobiles that run on gasoline like trucks, trains, bikes, buses, and planes extensively use the catalytic converter in their exhaust systems. Platinum Group Metals (PGM) play a vital role in the automotive industry such that 98% of the new vehicles being manufactured each year are equipped with catalytic converter. According to International Platinum Group Metals Association (IPA), this fact accounts for 51% of augmented global demand for PGM[1].

Catalytic Converter Recycling:

Extraction of precious metals from earth is a hard job. Moreover, it puts negative impact on the geographical climate. There are a number of companies like Brilliant Earth that sell jewelry made up of recycled metals. This is because of a number of downsides of mining metals like platinum. This ore is pulled out of tunnels that need energy and investment. For example, it takes no less than a ton of ore to extract one ounce of platinum. Moreover, it has to be treated with other chemicals for extraction. Another discouraging factor in this process is the substantial level of environmental pollution generated in the refining process. The mining is a low-paid job where miners have to work under hazardous conditions. By considering the option of recycling, the need for mining ores can be limited.

Catalytic converter recycling can be done at home. There are several companies that pay individuals for recycled catalytic converter. Moreover, there are several businesses that purchase old catalytic converters from people. But domestic processes associated with this process are not advisable because of least effectiveness[2]. The amount of metal extracted at home is often very small. Moreover, the process is a little dangerous. On the other hand, the commercial business of recycling is a big industry. The business is big enough to feed the extensive demand for PGMs. There are masses of companies purchasing and recycling catalytic converter to recover PGMs. On average, a catalytic converter in United States contains 1 to 2 grams of PGM for a small car and 12 to 15 grams for a big truck. As per stats of USGS, in 2014, almost 155,000 kg of PGM was recovered from scrap. The potential of the market can be gauged from the fact that net revenue from the business of catalytic converter recycling was $3 billion in 2010.

Catalytic Converter Prices:

The cost of a catalytic converter and its maintenance or replacement varies time to time and brand to brand or precisely model to model. The average cost of replacing a bad catalytic converter with a new one is roughly around $945 to $2475. In the case of some special and expensive cars, this price is quite higher. While repairing a catalytic converter, the diagnostic cost should also be considered. Moreover, potential issues that arise because of failures have different costs as well. For example, there will be a higher cost of maintenance if the muffler, tailpipe, and oxygen sensors have to be changed at any time. You must do a thorough cost analysis before considering to repair the converter. In some cases, fixing a catalytic converter could worth much more than the price of the car itself. Another significant aspect is the inclusion of labor cost. The labor used for replacing a catalytic converter with a new one could be $70 to $130 an hour. If the converter is affected with issues like rusted studs or bolts holding the car engine together, the mechanic on the job might take a substantial amount of time in terms of hours to finish the job.

Catalytic Converter Scrap Price:

Selling a used catalytic converter can make you a great deal of profit. In order to get most out of your used catalytic converter, you should sell to a company like Converter Guys. As they offer some of best price for catalytic converters. Some companies also receive small batched of un-canned catalytic converters. The optimum returns are assured if the catalytic converter is de-canned which can be done at a lower cost. All one has to do is to recycle the stainless steel to offset the labor cost of de-caning. The average weight of normal catalytic converter is 7 pound and a good de-canner is capable of de-canning almost 35 to 50 converters every hour. Once de-canning is done, this stuff should be sent to an assayer. The assayer company has to be transparent enough to give you the fastest and best payments in entire industry. The legitimacy and accuracy of the assaying service is an imperative aspect of this matter. An assaying report from a prestigious and reliable company upsurges the process of selling scrap.


Catalytic converter recycling is a well acknowledged and high-paying process at commercial level. The process is discouraged at a domestic level. The price of a catalytic converter depends on the brand and model. The maintenance and replacement cost of catalytic converter depends on its level of failure and the per hour cost of labor. In some cases, the cost becomes more than that the actual value of vehicle itself. The scrap of converter can yield maximum revenues if proper de-canning and assaying is done before selling. There is a substantial number of companies offering services in this matter. Thus, catalytic converter recycling is a market with a great potential in monetary terms.

[1] Hodnik, Nejc, Claudio Baldizzone, George Polymeros, Simon Geiger, Jan-Philipp Grote, Serhiy Cherevko, Andrea Mingers, Aleksandar Zeradjanin, and Karl JJ Mayrhofer. “Platinum recycling going green via induced surface potential alteration enabling fast and efficient dissolution.” Nature communications 7 (2016): 13164.

[2] Barber, Michael D. “Process for safe deconstruction and recycling of catalytic converters.” U.S. Patent Application 14/999,486, filed August 28, 2018.

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