Palladium Recycling: Don’t Overlook the Great Value of this Little-Understood Rare Metal

If you ask a group of knowledgeable businesspeople to name the precious metals that can be extremely valuable if recycled and refined, they will probably name gold, silver, platinum and possibly cadmium. They will rarely name palladium, which is a mistake. Palladium is one of the most valuable precious metals. Although it is rare in nature, it is widely found in many recyclable items, including used automotive catalytic converters, and even in alloys of gold and other metals.

Photo of palladium, which Specialty Metals refines and recycles from scrap catalytic converters, lab and dental equipment, electronics and jewelry.

Why is Palladium the “secret” precious metal that is often overlooked by people who could make a lot of money by sending their recyclable items to a qualified palladium refiner? Here are some of the reasons why.

  • Palladium is an element, not an alloy. Yes, its name sounds like the commercial name of an alloy, but it is actually a chemical element with the symbol Pd and an atomic number of 46.
  • Palladium has been misunderstood, almost from day it was discovered in 1802 by a British scientist named William Hyde Wollaston. Almost immediately, other scientists questioned his find and claimed that palladium was really an alloy of platinum and mercury. It was years before Wollaston’s new metal was recognized and listed as an element.
  • Palladium is rare in nature and often comes from distant countries. The most extensive deposits are found in South Africa, Russia, Ontario and Montana.
  • Palladium can be found in a range of manufactured items where few people think to look for it. If you have items that are made of “white gold,” for example, chances are good that they are really made of an alloy of gold and palladium – and that palladium can be extracted by a qualified palladium refiner. Also, some jewelry items that appear to be made of platinum are really made of palladium. That was often done in the years around World War II, when the U.S. government restricted the use of platinum to military production.

Where Will You Find Palladium that You Can Refine and Recycle?

Even though Palladium is rare in nature, you could have it in more recyclable items than you might expect, including:

  • Palladium catalysts, which can include automotive catalysts, industrial catalysts, petroleum refining catalysts, and palladium foil catalysts.
  • Palladium metal itself, which includes palladium wire, palladium castings, palladium rods, palladium mesh, and palladium foil.
  • Palladium alloys used in manufacturing, which can include palladium sputter and sputtering targets, palladium sponges, and palladium flake.
  • Palladium jewelry items, which can include rings, chains, bracelets and jewelry scrap.
  • Palladium-plated items, which can include jewelry and decorative items.
  • Palladium resins, which are used in a variety of manufacturing processes.

Not Sure What You Have? Call Our Expert Palladium Refiners Today

If you have items that you believe might contain palladium – which is currently trading at more than $700 on the London Fix – call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to learn more. Just because other people overlook the dollars that could be gained by recycling palladium doesn’t mean that you have to too.

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