Why Recycling Catalytic Converters Is So Important and How It Can Be Done Responsibly?

Why is it important to recycle converters

With electrical vehicles, commodity prices, and ethical and sustainable business practices regularly making headlines, it’s worth taking a moment to think about what catalytic converters have to do with these topics. And the truth is, there’s lots to talk about. That’s why we caught up with Thubprint again, who took us through the importance of recycling catalytic converters and—just as importantly—how it can be done responsibly. Check out the video below or read on to learn more.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Important?

Catalytic converters are the unsung heroes of the automotive industry. They play a crucial role in mitigating the pollutants released by internal combustion engines. When fuel burns inside the engine, gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons are emitted. These gases are harmful for human health and the environment as a whole. The precious metals in catalytic converters—platinum, rhodium, or palladium—transform these dangerous compounds into safe gases. This process makes vehicles much cleaner and greener. And the great thing is that even after a car has reached the end of its life, catalytic converters keep on giving: the precious metals they contain, also known as platinum group metals or PGMs, can be recycled.

Setting the Record Straight on Converter Theft

Thanks to a few unscrupulous actors, some people aren't too keen on the idea of recycling catalytic converters. They associate it with attention-grabbing stories about converter theft, and so they assume that anyone recycling catalytic converters must not be operating on the level. If you or anyone you know has had their catalytic converter stolen, it can be frustrating to imagine that a dishonest recycler is profiting from your misery. But while it’s true that their precious metal content has increasingly made catalytic converters the target of theft, this is in no way representative of the industry as a whole. Responsible recyclers like PMR make every effort to ensure that the catalytic converters they purchase have been acquired legally. In fact, working with responsible recyclers is in everyone’s interest—it reduces demand for stolen converters and promotes the reuse of the valuable metals they contain.

The Benefits of Recycling Catalytic Converters

Recycling catalytic converters with a trusted processor means that the environmental benefits they provide don’t stop when the rest of the car does. Although there’s a lot of talk about the transition to electric vehicles, internal combustion engines are still going to be a major part of the automotive industry for the time being. That means that vehicle manufacturers are still going to need PGMs for new catalytic converters, and what better place to get them than old catalytic converters?

With 28 percent of the global supply of PGMs now coming from recycled sources, that’s good news for the environment. When these precious metals are recycled from old converters, the need for new mining operations is reduced, which keeps large swathes of our ever-important natural environment intact. By the same logic, recycling catalytic converters also cuts down on the greenhouse gases that would be emitted from the refining of raw ore once mined.

So we can see that the benefits of catalytic converter recycling are two-fold. This process simultaneously increases the available supply of platinum, rhodium, and palladium without the environmentally damaging effects associated with traditional extraction methods. Contrary to many people’s perception, working with a catalytic converter recycler isn’t just a smart business decision, it’s an environmentally and ethically responsible one.

Working with Responsible Catalytic Converter Recyclers

To realize the full benefits of recycling catalytic converters, it’s important to work with a recycler you can trust. They should be compliant with all relevant national and local-level regulations and up front about their commitments and processes. A reputable recycler will be transparent with you about what they’re offering and will expect the same from you. So familiarize yourself with the documentation you’ll need and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the regulatory environment. This cooperation between every actor in the industry is essential to ensuring that everyone continues to profit from catalytic converter recycling.

Published: August 21, 2023
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