The 4 Ps of Converter Recycling Profitability

At our company, United Catalyst Corporation, we have a mantra, it is Getting the Most from Your Converters with A Process You Can Trust. It is as simple as four Ps; a Process you can trust; a Program you can trust; a Partner you can trust; and the Power of education.

A Process You Can Trust
How much money do you want from your converters? Your answer should be, all of it. Did you know there is only one way to get all the value from a converter and that is by destroying it: de-can, mill, sample, assay, smelt, and extract or refine the platinum, palladium, and rhodium out of the catalyst. The way to get all the value from the converter is to sell it on this Process called assay-based selling. An assay is a test result from a sample that, if done correctly, yields the highest result.

A Program You Can Trust
An assay-based selling Program benefits you the recycler if:

The results of the test are true and accurate of the converters you sent in.

If the recycling costs are reasonable and customary

If the metals are sold at a fair market price.

When you sell converters based on this Process and a fair Program you are getting the true value out of each scrap catalytic converter regardless of wear and tear on the unit or grading category. In this Program it doesn’t matter what car the converter came from or how many miles the vehicle had; whatever precious metal contained in that converter will be recovered and paid on.

A Partner You Can Trust
In an industry that has historically been rife with smoke and mirrors, as recyclers looking to get the most from your converters, you need a Process you can trust, a Program you can trust, and a Partner you can trust.

Trust / trast / noun 1. firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.

You see you can do everything right. You can sell on assay instead of selling by the piece. You can have great terms and pricing. But if you do not have a reputable partner that you can trust, you could still be losing. President Ronald Reagan on multiple occasions used the Russian proverb, Trust but verify, in the context of nuclear disarmament. The same holds true in our part of the recycling industry.

Selling scrap catalytic converters has always been a risky business. Taking a price on something where the value is unknown screams “seller beware.” Selling on assay or recovery helps to eliminate that problem because there is a test result that can be considered the basis for the sale.

However, even with this method, several things can still go wrong for the recycler: settling on an inaccurate or manipulated sample and/or assay result; losing weight during processing and refining; having too much trash and/or moisture; paying exorbitant recycling costs; and selling metal that is too heavily discounted. For all these reasons, the importance of working with a Partner you can trust cannot be overstated. The bottom line is you need to be paid on a sample and assay that are official, accurate, and verifiable.

The Power of Education
At United Catalyst Corporation we believe that an educated recycler is our best customer. In fact, we give recyclers an education in auto catalyst processing and precious metals refining. We take a complex process and try to make it understandable and easy to use. We know that once a recycler learns about their converters and their yard profile, they will increase their profits, and no one will ever be able to take advantage of them again.

To learn more about selling converters on assay or to read other articles in this series, please email me at or call us at 864-590-1705.

Becky Berube serves the recycling community as President of United Catalyst Corporation, Co-Chair of the Automotive Recycling Association’s Events Advisory Committee, and is an ExCom Board Member of the International Precious Metals Institute. She can be reached at 864-834-2003 or by email at