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Does it make sense to process converters direct to the smelter?

Does it make sense to process converters direct to the smelter?

Any automotive professional can participate in catalytic converter recycling. There is a method in place to get you compensated whether your shop has a single converter or thousands. Of course, the method will change based on the volume you have, as it should to guarantee you get the most money for your material.

Low Volume Generators of Catalytic Converters

Recycling a low volume of catalytic converters usually includes selling them by the can to a precious metals recycling company. If you only have a few converters at a time, the procedure can be rather simple. All you’d have to do is figure out how much the recycler is willing to pay for your converters based on the part number listed on the converter. This can be sped up by using a price guide that allows you to type in the part number listed on your converter and see the listed price before contacting the recycling company. Always keep in mind that the price varies with the current market value of the precious metals contained within.

This means that one week you might look at a converter and find that its listed price is higher than you expected, but the next week it might be lower. When you’re happy with the price, you ship it, or have it picked up and you get paid. It is recommended that you sell your converters in this manner so that a legitimate business can process them rather than selling them for cash to a local individual unless you have established a trusted relationship.

Large Volume Generators of Catalytic Converters

When recycling a large amount of catalyst, the process can be extensive. We recommend that your converters be de-canned, and the loose catalyst be collected. This would allow you to ship the powder containing the precious metals, requiring fewer boxes, and saving money on freight. Furthermore, because the precious metals would have to be extracted from the converter anyway, you save the cost of labor from a processor.

Going Directly to the Smelter

Going directly to the smelter makes no sense for a small volume of catalytic converters. In fact, most automotive operations cannot process converters directly to the smelter. This is attributable to the fact that the volume required to deal with smelters is greater than most automotive shops can generate on their own. To get the material there requires a processor that gathers material from multiple sources until the required volume to get to the smelter is available.

If you can collect many catalytic converters, the process will be different. If you have more than 500 catalytic converters, you can be paid on an assay rather than by the can. This means de-canning your material and collecting the loose catalyst. That loose catalyst would then be shipped to a partner which has a contract with a smelter, and you would then be paid on assay. Every processor requires the use of a pyro-metallurgical smelter, and every smelter requires the use of a hydro-metallurgical refiner. All of these contribute significantly to the recovery of PGMs and their reintroduction into the circular economy.

RESOURCES

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