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Why You Should Recycle Catalytic Converters

Theft of Catalytic Converters in the UK On The Rise

Did you know the theft of catalytic converters is on the rise in the UK? I didn’t either. If you’re like me, you might not have known what a catalytic converter even is. That’s I talked with the Global Refining Group, an agency that specializes in recycling catalytic converters to get the details of the what and why on this situation.

What Is A Catalytic Converter

Car emission standards have been a thing around the world for years now. The exhaust from cars is a toxic gas that also contributes to the greenhouse effect. It’s generally unhealthy. In the early automobile days, when cars were rare, this wasn’t much of a problem. Today, there’s millions of cars on the road every day. All that pollution adds up to a very unhealthy situation for people.

Enter the catalytic converter. The device is aimed to reduce the emission of toxic gasses from your car exhaust by converting them into less harmful substances. It sounds like a really good thing, right? So, why are people stealing them?

Valuable Metals in Catalytic Converters

The process of converting toxic exhaust into non-toxic exhaust is a chemical one. Depending on the fuel type (standard or diesel), different metals and chemicals are required. Some of these metals are quite valuable due to their rarity. Since it’s so much easier to recycle metals than mine them up, recyclers and scrap dealers will often pay money to deliver metal scrap to them. Catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium, iridium, and rhodium. All of these are exceptionally valuable. As with any opportunity to make profit, a cottage industry of thefts soon rose. Now, the government is in a rush to catch up with this trend to protect people’s cars.

Why Recycle Catalytic Converters?

Like all chemical processes, the metals needed for the reaction run out. Once the converter has run out of catalytic metals, it can’t do its job anymore and needs to be replaced. While the metals in the converter are used up, a recycling process can restore the byproducts of the reaction back to their original metals. Done right, the process can recover the metals at 90-99% purity, making it possible to use them again.

Why recycle them? Well, from an ecological standpoint, consider the amount of land strip-mining ruins. Big pits and tunnels get dug for the miners, and the equipment gives off many pollutants. The whole process can be devastating to local ecosystems, as well as contributing to global environmental issues. From an economic standpoint, the process of mining is hugely expensive, increasingly so the rare the metals get. Recycling metals is a great solution for both problems. If you recycle the metals, companies don’t need to spend more money mining it up. It saves money and the environment.

It’s so profitable to recycle metals that many catalytic converter companies will actually include services to collect them from you.  Even when the cost of shipping and handling is added to the recycling process, the amount of money saved in the process compared to mining more metal is huge.

Whether your goal is economic or environmental, there’s simply no reason not to recycle your catalytic converters. Just don’t steal them from someone else’s car, okay?