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A legally compliant solution for the recycling of catalytic converter components

Scrapeyards, car dealerships and mechanics should be aware that there are valuable components in catalytic converters that can be recycled. However, your recycling partner should be legally compliant at all steps in the recycling process. 

Inside every car is a catalytic converter, containing a monolith with precious metals such as palladium, platinum and erodium embedded in the substrate. The purpose of this catalytic converter is to reduce C02 emissions by 70 to 80 percent, which is why all cars around the world are required to have one.

As the metals that go into these components are rare and finite resources, it is important to recycle them when the car comes to the end of its life. 

Many scrapyards, dealerships and mechanics are responsible for the final disposal of vehicles, but they often don’t know that there’s significant value contained in catalytic converters, or if they are aware, sell them on to disreputable recyclers who are not legally and environmentally compliant. Even if the car itself continues running, catalytic converters should be replaced every 100 000km or so, as they become blocked and ineffective, so the discarded component can also be recycled. 

The AST Recycling solution 

AST Recycling has the expertise and capabilities to take used catalytic converters off your hands, crush them, and extract a sample that can be priced against the London metal exchange pricing guidelines. The crushed material will then be separated into good and bad categories, and then shipped to the specialised refinery in Europe, which will extract the metals for reuse, paying a fair rate to the dealer. 

“Clients who sell us these converters can come to our premises and watch the process. They can see how we crush, analyse and calculate the products and the values. They will receive payment there and then, based on market-related prices. It’s an entirely fair and transparent process,” says Malcolm Whitehouse, the general manager of AST Recycling. 

Health and safety 

Catalytic converters also contain a cloth membrane that stabilises the heating of the components. This cloth membrane is made of carcinogenic compounds, requiring specialised knowledge and equipment for disposal. 

“At AST Recycling, we are ISO 45001 compliant and have the correct procedures in place, along with biohazardous waste bins for the disposal of any harmful elements,” says Whitehouse. “This means that we can extract value from catalytic converters with no concerns about harm coming to our workforce or anyone else involved in the process.” 

Legal compliance 

Given the high value of the components of the catalytic converters, it is possible that the resale of these could attract a criminal element. However, Whitehouse points out that simply by fastidiously complying with the Secondhand Goods Act, AST Recycling ensures that the chain of custody of the components is above board. 

“We record the full name, ID number, address and contact details of any seller, and require them to prove that they are the legal owners of the device. There is also a seven-day cooling-off period from the date of receipt of the device in case there is any need for a forensic investigation into its origins. If we are in any way unsure about the provenance of the item, we will contact the authorities.” 

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