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Make Money From Catalytic Converters

How Can You Make Money From Scrapping Spent Catalytic Converters?

A Brief History


Did you know that when a car or truck engine is running, the fuel it burns produce toxic gases, such as Nitrogen Oxide, Carbon Monoxide, and unburnt fuel residue? Because of these environmental hazards, the Catalytic Converter (“CAT”) was invented. The main function of a CAT is to help reduce emissions from cars and trucks.


For decades, car and truck manufacturers around the world have been adding Catalytic Converters (“CAT”) to the standard assembly of vehicles. These CATs are typically located under the hood, and attached to the motor, just right before the exhaust system. This setup is designed to help reduce emissions and keep the air we breathe clean.


Gases produced by the motor go straight into the CAT and exit the other side, often less than 1 10th of a second later. The CAT processes the toxic substances and produces harmless water vapor and oxygen, which exit the vehicle’s exhaust system. The CAT can eliminate up to 99% of an engine’s toxic gases.


In this post, we will cover the basics of catalytic converters, how they are recycled, and how you can make money from scrapping spent CATs.


What Is A Catalytic Converter (CAT) Made Of?


The exterior housing of the CAT, or “shell”, is made of steel or a low grade stainless steel alloy. It is important to note that the contents of a CAT can affect its functionality, scrap value, and how it protects the environment. The housing contains 2 blocks that feature a ceramic structure. They are often coated with 3 rare precious metals: Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium. The blocks are the core (also called an “Auto Motive Core”) of the converter and are also commonly known in the recycling industry as a “honeycomb” or “biscuit.” Each block is filled with thousands of micro ducts, which are coated with the above-mentioned precious metals. These metals cause the toxic gases to react and recombine, producing other gases that are harmless to your health. The elements (metals) remain unaltered and do not rust. That’s why Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium are ideal metals for this process. Because these precious metals are so expensive, the CAT is designed to expose the maximum surface area of these elements to the exhaust stream while minimizing the quantity of precious metals required (the area of the honeycomb equals that of a football field).



How Does A Catalytic Converter Work? 

The process of converting toxic gases to harmless substances happens most efficiently when the CAT is hot. It can reach internal temperatures of up to 1,300 °F (700°C)! The toxic gases heat up the converter. The converter essentially acts like a small super-heated furnace to breakdown and reform gas molecules into harmless substances. These elements then exit the unit at temperatures as high as 900 degrees Fahrenheit. A car typically has to travel about six miles before the CAT converter reaches its ideal operating temperature and start filtering out harmful gases from the engine.


Many CATs have oxygen sensors built into them, which electronically monitor the amount of exhaust fumes and uses this information to control the vehicle’s fuel injection system. This information is sent to the vehicle’s engine computer and results in both the CAT converter and vehicle running more efficiently.


Why Do CATs Go Bad?


Have you ever noticed a sulfur-like, rotten-egg odor coming from your car or truck after driving it? This is a common sign that the CAT is starting to malfunction. Most Cat’s will properly function for the life-span of a vehicle. But over time, due to the high heat generated in the honeycomb, or from a malfunctioning vehicle engine or other mechanical issues–Cat’s can fail.


Other symptoms that indicate your CAT needs to be replaced can include:


  • The vehicle is burning more gas than usual
  • A visit to your mechanic or local inspection station for a car inspection results in a failed emissions test
  • A check-engine light is on
  • Difficulty starting your vehicle
  • There is a lack of acceleration


How Are CATs Recycled?


When a CAT converter fails, it must be replaced. What should you do with it? Some metal recyclers, including H&C Metals, accept and pay for spent CAT converter cores as scrap.


H&C Metals is the 1st step in the recycling process. Spent CATs are shipped to the 2nd step in the recycling process to go through a de-canning process. This way, precious metals, as well as the steel or stainless-steel housing around them can be reclaimed. There is a 100% recovery rate of all these metals! The CATs are placed on a conveyor and a hydraulic shear and/or hammer mill pulverize the scrap core. Small pieces land on a shaker-table where the heavy magnetic metal is separated from the non-magnetic (Nonferrous) materials. A magnet belt picks up the magnetic waste and distributes it to a scrap steel holding area for eventual shipment to a steel mill for smelting or repurposing into new steel products. This then leads to the 3rd stage of recycling a CAT Converter. The catalyst ceramic block (Honeycomb) is picked-up by an air separator, which carries the small solid pieces and automatically drops them into large holding bags.


The 4th recycling step takes place when the bags of crushed cores are sold/shipped to a refinery. There are refineries (smelters) designed to only recycle CAT converters. There, the materials are grinded further to reduce their size before smelting. The ceramic waste is melted in furnaces at 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours. This process separates the non-metallic components (ceramics) from the three precious metals. Once melted, the Nonferrous recoverable metal content is removed first. The precious metals that remain are cooled and solidified, then a multi-stage chemical separation process creates a purified version of platinum, palladium, and rhodium.


The final stage of the recycling process occurs when the refinery sells the purified precious metals to various manufacturers and industries — not limited to those building catalytic converters. It’s estimated that 80% of the demand for PGM’s (precious grade metals) is derived from auto manufacturing industries. However, other applications include industrial raw materials such as nylon and synthetic rubber; jet engine and missile parts as conductors; and consumer electronics and jewelry.


Environmental Benefits Of Recycling CATs


American emission pollutants have dropped on an average of over 70% since car manufacturers began to include CAT converters in their automobile designs.


It is estimated that refiners need about eight tons of raw precious metals ore to produce one ounce of platinum. But, recycling spent CAT converters means you can generate the same quantity of platinum from only 30 pounds of auto CAT cores. Therefore, it is much more cost effective and environmentally friendly for CAT refiners to capture precious metals from recycling spent cores than to mine raw ore from the Earth.


How To Sell CATs Converters As Scrap. How Much Are They Worth?


The auto core, or honeycomb, found inside the outer metal housing or “shell”, contains three rare precious metals: Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium. Although the quantity of these metals is extremely small, their presence is the reason why failed CATs have greater value than the scrap values of outer steel or low-grade stainless steel shells and attached steel exhaust pipes. Without the biscuit inside, the CAT converter will have minimum value and be graded and paid for as steel by a metal recycling company.


For anyone who wants to scrap a CAT, it is highly recommended that they avoid removing the honeycomb from the outer shell if they think separating the steel shell from the core will result in higher scrap value for the core. This is not the case. In order for the scrap dealer/CAT buyer to determine the value of the CAT, the entire CAT must be intact. The whole CAT will provide the buyer with the recognizable, necessary information to determine the CATs value. Crucial information includes the imprinted/stamped presence of a specific CAT model number, possible auto manufacturer’s logo or name, as well as the design and construction of the unit.


The percentage of precious metals built into a converter is determined by the type of combustion engine and auto model the CAT will be attached to. The amount of toxins produced in a vehicle’s exhaust system determines the quantity of precious metals required to meet emissions standards for that model and the CAT’s eventual scrap value. The value of any spent CAT is also determined by what the global commodity value is at any time for Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium.


Ultimately, scrap value is set by the CAT refineries and what they pay determines what your local scrap buyer will pay you. There are hundreds of types and categories of Catalytic Converters on today’s market.


Many scrap metal dealers do not purchase spent CATs, but don’t worry; H&C Metals has the expertise and experience to quickly and accurately grade your spent CAT. When you deliver any type of scrap metal to us, you can also conveniently bring your CATs to us! We pay top dollar for CATs—in cash! Call (973)589-7778 to speak with an H&C Metals representative today and get a professional CAT quote.

H&C Metals & Balemet Recycling Purchase Flatbed Trailer

H&C Metals and its sister company, Balemet, are consistently striving to improve the services provided for its diverse clientele. Several methods include adding new trucking and logistics options to meet the evolving trucking requirements of their scrap supplier bases.

About the New Trailer Purchase

H&C Metals & Balemet Recycling have recently expanded their truck fleets by purchasing a tandem access flatbed trailer. The trailer’s dimensions are: 45’L x 8’H x 5’H and the scrap load weight capacity is 45K lbs.

Why a Tandem Access Flatbed Trailer?

A tandem access flatbed trailer increases the convenience of loading materials from all four sides of the trailer. When a roll-off container (dumpster) is too small to handle oversized loads, or a closed van trailer does not offer the multiple-loading options needed for the job, the flatbed trailer can be utilized to load a variety of scrap metal recycling items. For example, oversized demolition scrap such as long beams and pipes, as well as bulky, heavy industrial and commercial equipment.

The attached pictures illustrate the logistical capabilities of the flatbed trailer.

Flatbed Trailer Flatbed Trailer Flatbed Trailer

Flatbed Trailer in Action: Removal of 20-Ton Commercial Printing Machine

H&C’s customer, a printing company, utilized our trailer to load sections of an obsolete, 20-ton commercial printing machine. The advantages of using the flatbed trailer for this job include faster loading and unloading times of scrap equipment.

Shipped Off to be Recycled

Once the machinery was successfully loaded onto the trailer, H&C’s driver could expertly rig (securely attach) the scrap prior to hauling. The scrap printing press was then hauled to Balemet’s steel recycling facility in Newark for dismantling purposes. This was an important step to take before the recycling process; shipment to a steel mill for smelting and repurposing the steel into new products.

H&C Metals Continues to Increase its Capabilities

H&C Metals will continue to invest in an array of equipment and resources to provide the most efficient, safe, and prompt logistical solutions for its clients.

H&C Metals Promotional Update

H&C Metals recently launched a promotion designed to generate new leads, attract repeat customers, and to effectively communicate with our door trade (delivery) customer base.


Win a $100 AMEX Gift Card from H&C Metals!


H&C Metals is collecting email addresses from our retail customers and offering an incentive of a $100 AMEX gift card. These benefits will be randomly awarded to lucky customers on a monthly basis. To qualify for this giveaway, simply provide us with your email address.

Congratulations to Paulo Pacheco

H&C Metals Conducted A Presentation For Ironbound Catholic Academy (Newark)

Earlier this year, a teacher from Ironbound Catholic Academy (Newark) found our website and contacted H&C Metals to inquire if we were willing to conduct a presentation for their senior class.

Ironbound Catholic Academy

A Presentation on Metal and E-Waste Recycling


Students from the senior class were enrolled in an elective program that covered said industry. The teacher thought it would be fun and informative to include a segment about metal and e-waste recycling, as well as invite an industry representative to address the class.


H&C Metals’ Presentation Structure


H&C Metals agreed upon receiving the request and prepared a presentation discussing:


  • Physical samples of materials we buy & sell for recycling
  • Explaining & illustrating the difference between Ferrous & Nonferrous Metals, including the use of a magnet to demonstrate the differences
  • A “tour” of select pages from the H&C website to further explain our operations
  • Videos about the metal recycling & electronic scrap industries and how Lead Acid Batteries (e.g., Car/Truck Batteries) are recycled
  • A review of the transportation & trucking options we utilize for hauling scrap
  • The value of scrap metal
  • A Q&A session


We ended the presentation by providing each student with a complimentary H&C Metals magnet.

HC Metals – Ironbound Catholic Academy Testimonial Class of 2014

Study finds nearly 100 percent recycling rate for lead batteries

Battery Council International says lead batteries’ 99.3 percent recycling rate makes them the No. 1 recycled consumer product in the U.S.


November 16, 2017

Battery Council International (BCI), Chicago, and Essential Energy Everyday have released a study showing lead batteries have a recycling rate of 99.3 percent, making them the No. 1 recycled consumer product in the U.S.


The groups say the near-perfect rate of recycling is attributed to industry investment in a closed-loop collection and recycling system that keeps 1.7 million tons of batteries out of landfills annually.


The National Recycling Rate Study, released in conjunction with America Recycles Day Nov. 15, 2017, demonstrates the sustainability of lead batteries and their role in environmentally friendly energy storage for automotive and industrial applications, say the organizations.


Mark Thorsby, executive vice president of BCI, says, “Our goal for the lead battery manufacturing process is to collect and recycle and reuse lead batteries and their components. In essence to create a ‘closed-loop industry’ that significantly reduces the demand on global resources.”


Thorsby continues, “On average, a new lead battery is comprised of more than 80 percent recycled lead battery material. Every part of the battery, from lead and plastic to sulfuric acid, is recyclable and reusable in manufacturing new batteries. This reduces the need for new lead mining, reduces waste and helps keep lead out of landfills.” 


In 2014, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reported that the rate of lead battery recovery was almost 99 percent, the highest recycling rate among other more well-known recycled products, such as newspapers (63 percent), aluminum cans (55.1 percent), tires (40.5 percent), glass containers (32.5 percent) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles (32.2 percent), the groups note.


“Our country needs energy delivered in an environmentally friendly, safe and affordable manner and the recycling rate our industry has achieved is evidence of our commitment to that goal,” Thorsby adds, “We are proud of this record and the fact that lead batteries provide essential energy storage to power millions of cars, buses, airplanes, trains, and logistic networks as well as backup recovery systems that protect life, investments and data in emergency situations.” 


BCI and Essential Energy Everyday say lead batteries’ applications reduce carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles through start-stop battery technology, help power hybrid and electric vehicles and enable smart grid technology that improves the reliability of wind and solar farms.


The closed-loop process that ensures lead batteries’ high rate of recycling is recognized by the World Economic Forum and MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics as the world’s most successful example of a circular economy—featuring the design, production, transportation, recycling, and recovery of vehicle batteries.


The National Recycling Rate Study was produced by SmithBucklin Statistics Group, Chicago, and was commissioned by BCI. The methodology for calculating the recycling rate considers new battery shipments, battery exports, imports of products containing a battery and imports of scrap lead and used batteries.


To view a video of the lead battery recycling process, click here.


Essential Energy Everyday exists to increase awareness of the importance of lead batteries in people’s daily lives. It is supported by the two global trade associations that represent the lead battery and lead industries: BCI and the International Lead Association, London.


ISRI says National Manufacturing Day highlights recycling’s role in US economy

ISRI says National Manufacturing Day highlights recycling’s role in the US economy

Association says scrap recycling is the first link in the manufacturing supply chain

October 6, 2017

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington, joins in the celebration of National Manufacturing Day  Oct. 6, 2017, by highlighting the many positive contributions of the recycling industry to the U.S. manufacturing landscape. In 2016 alone, more than 130 million metric tons of metal, paper, plastic, glass, textiles, rubber, and electronics were manufactured into specification grade commodities by the U.S. scrap recycling industry, the association says.


“National Manufacturing Day helps call attention to the critical role recyclers play in America’s overall economy and the variety of ways recycling affects one’s everyday life,” says Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “The recycling industry is proud to be the first link in the manufacturing supply chain, as it provides a source of raw material to other manufacturers that are environmentally friendly compared to virgin material. In doing so, the industry has become a thriving economic engine, job creator, resource of sustainability, energy savings and global trade.”


ISRI says that since the dawn of civilization and the earliest attempts at manufacturing, humans have recognized the intrinsic value of scrap and the benefits associated with using and reusing existing products to create new goods. As U.S. manufacturing grew and became more complex, scrap recycling became more important, adapting not only to market drivers but also to shifting national priorities in the context of our finite natural resources.


The scrap recycling industry has made many contributions to the U.S. economy, according to ISRI:

  • – generating nearly $16.5 billion in export sales to 155 countries;
  • – directly and indirectly, employing approximately 534,000 workers in 2016;
  • – generating nearly $117 billion annually in economic activity;
  • – drawing in $13.2 billion in revenue for federal, state and local governments; and
  • – lowering energy costs by producing recycled materials that require less energy during the manufacturing process than virgin materials.

National Manufacturing Day, currently in its sixth year, occurs on the first Friday of October. It was created by Founding Partner Fabricators and Manufacturers Association International (FMA) in 2012 and currently is produced by the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) with contributions and support from the Manufacturing Institute (MI) and Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP).



H&C Metals, Inc. Establishes Secure Customer Payment Method for Trucking Services

November 2016: H&C Metals, Inc. is now providing an added accounts payable method for its customers, vendors, and debtors, with a secure, convenient method of payment.

H&C’s customers rely on trucking services provided by H&C’s commercial trucking fleet, including industrial roll-off containers, tractor-trailers, and flatbed trailers, to haul scrap metal from their facilities to H&C’s facility and its sister company, Balemet Recycling in Newark, NJ. When trucking services are required but the value of the cargo being hauled does not compensate for the cost of trucking, trucking can now be easily and privately paid for via an H&C Paypal account. H&C will email its customer an invoice/receipt to be paid for on Paypal. Payment by credit card is fast & reduces additional administrative costs associated with cutting checks.

H&C Metals, Inc. Employees Have Become Licensed To Evacuate Freon From Appliances Designated As Scrap Metal.

H&C Metals, Inc. is pleased to announce that two additional employees have become licensed to evacuate Freon from appliances designated as scrap metal. The Section 608 certification, in keeping with the U.S. EPA Clean Air Act of 1990, is required for the disposing of air-conditioning or refrigeration equipment (appliances). H&C complies with the refrigerant recycling requirements as described in 40 CFR Part 82, Sub Part F, and Section 608 Refrigerant Recycling Rule of the Clean Air Act.

H&C Metals, Inc. Recently Invested in a Yard Management System “Scrap Dragon”

H&C Metals, Inc. recently invested in a state-of-the-art yard management system called Scrap Dragon. This software is designed specifically for the operation of a metal recycling company. The new system became operational on June 2015 & benefits our retail and commercial scrap metal customers in several ways:


-ATM machine: Quickly dispenses cash to customers which reduces the time required to wait to get paid.


-ATM machine provides verbal and written instructions (English & Spanish) on the use of the machine.


-ATM provides self-service convenience; return to the ATM for payment at any time during H&C’s operating hours


-Handwritten, difficult to read scale tickets are replaced by computer-generated, easy-to-read scale tickets


-Professional scale tickets are provided to the customer which include a unique account number, detailed description of their commodities, gross/tare weights as well as the price and extended dollars for each item


-For customer convenience, customers are given a key tag to use as ID whenever they sell scrap at H&C. This eliminates the customer having to search for ID per transaction.


-Scale operators have a new, fast and easy-to-use data entry scrap buying system; this speeds-up the customer’s time at the scale


H&C Metals, Inc. & Balemet Recycling Participates in City of Newark “Slam Dunk The Junk” Cleanup Event

“The City of Newark and New Jersey Clean Communities Council hosted its Twelfth Annual Gateway to a cleaner Newark, citywide cleanup, on October 2, 2014, at Lincoln Park. The City of Newark Dept. of Neighborhood and Recreational Services, organized the event & solicited 500 + volunteers from local businesses, community organizations, schools and residents to team-up to clean-up Newark.

H&C and Balemet provided 2 employees as volunteers. They were provided “Slam Dunk The Junk” Tee-shirts, tools and collection bags for garbage, recyclable materials, and leaves. Lunch was served at the event’s conclusion.

H&C Metals and Balemet have operated in Newark for decades, providing a home for recycled scrap metal and electronic waste to a variety of regional and local business and industry, local government and residents. We are proud to volunteer our services to The City of Newark as their partner in a cleaner environment.”