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  • Writer's pictureAccurate Converter

The importance of dust collection

“Ashes to ashes, dust to dust” isn’t the mantra of Catalytic Converter Recycling. In no way does the industry want even a speck of precious metal to return to the elements of the earth.

If you’re in the business, you know that every bit of material collected matters (pun intended). And since the amount of palladium, rhodium and platinum (Platinum Group Metals, or PGMs) vary from can to can, recyclers are keen to grab what they can get.

Unfortunately, the process of extracting PGMs isn’t what you’d call “neat.” Material is processed by crushing and milling, which in turn results in a generation of dust.

Dust collection is designed to minimize the amount of “pollutant” released into the air.

But where that dust goes, matters. During de-canning, we rely on a high-tech dust collection system to capture everything created through the process. When it’s added back to your lot, it can account for 1-3 percent of your overall weight. But even more notable, that dust is packed with valuable platinum group metals, and can account for up to 20 percent of the lot’s value. You want to ensure your recycler is capturing all of it AND returning it to your lot.

Important considerations and questions to ask your recycler:

How is the dust collected and what are they doing to ensure dust is not being lost?

Does weight and unit count match? Weights and counts should always match up. If your lot is leaving with more or less than it arrived, that should raise a red flag.

Can you verify how that material is managed and reported? Unfortunately, there is a grey area - you’re going to need to trust the weights and loadings of material. And there’s really no absolute way to guarantee that your lot when it leaves contains the same material as when it arrived. But you can use history to help verify. Look at past loads (anywhere from 3-10 loads) of similar quality and weight - examine and compare the average ceramic weight and PPM derived from lab over time. Is there consistency across loads or are there significant fluctuations?

And if you can’t get a clear answer, keep asking until you’re satisfied with the answer or find someone who has the knowledge and offers the transparency to provide you with that information.

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