Looking to Recycle Platinum? What Is the Most Profitable Source?

Catalytic converters are probably the biggest source of recyclable platinum today, because so many of them have been manufactured – and so many are piling up in scrapyards and other places where cars are repaired or scrapped.

But even though cat convertors might be the biggest source of platinum, are they the best source for speculators who like to collect platinum scrap and send it to us to be refined? Not necessarily.

Why aren’t they the best source for everyone? Here are some reasons…

  • Finding and collecting cat converters is labor-intensive and time-consuming. You might also have to travel to find and buy them.
  • You have to collect 500 or more catalytic converters before sending them to Specialty Metals for testing and reprocessing. That’s quite a pile.
  • They are large, and a lot of room is required to store them. You can keep $2,000 worth of platinum coins or bars in your pocket. Try that with $2,000 worth of catalytic converters.
  • Only a small percentage of the total weight of a cat converter is made of platinum. You have to process hundreds of pounds of them to come up with a few ounces of platinum.
Platinum crucibles like this labware scrap can be made of pure platinum or platinum alloy, which Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can recycle for your company.

Platinum crucibles like this labware scrap can be made of pure platinum or platinum alloy, which Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners can recycle for your company.

We’re not saying that we don’t want to help you get top dollar for the cat converters that you send to us to be recycled. We do. We are saying, however, that there are other forms of scrapped platinum that might work better for you because they overcome the disadvantages that we just mentioned above. They’re smaller, easier to collect and store, and pay you back more money per pound of recycled material.

What are these other platinum-rich forms of scrap?

Platinum Thermocouples

Thermocouples are made of two or more metals that generate voltage. When one end of a long wire thermocouple is heated, that voltage increase can be measured at the other end. The result is that thermocouples can be used to remotely measure changes in temperature. Depending on the application, thermocouples can contain nickel alloys, platinum/rhodium alloys, tungsten alloys, and even alloys that contain gold.

You can find thermocouples in locations like these:

  • Air conditioning systems
  • Chemical manufacturing plants
  • Equipment used in the manufacturing of steel and other metals
  • Furnaces
  • Gas turbines
  • Ignition systems used in manufacturing
  • Industrial safety systems
  • Industrial sensors of many kinds
  • Industrial valves and actuators
  • Kerosene lamps and space heaters
  • Kilns
  • Medical testing and monitoring equipment
  • Munitions
  • Ovens
  • Power plants, including nuclear power plants where thermocouples can be used to measure radiation
  • Robotic and other welding equipment
  • Safety cutoff values and switches
  • Steam systems
  • Thermometers
  • Water heaters


Platinum laboratory equipment is one of the best sources of platinum – in many cases, nearly pure platinum – that you can send to us for recycling. Platinum labware is small, easy to handle, and inexpensive to store and ship. Here are some of the items to be on the lookout for:

  • Crucibles, dishes and lids
  • Evaporation dishes
  • Ignition dishes, in which materials to be tested are ignited
  • Testing electrodes
  • The long testing containers known as “boats”
  • Tongs, tweezers, and spatulas used to handle materials that are being tested
  • Tubes that connect testing tanks
  • Wire wool, perforated disks, meshes, and filters

Platinum Mesh and Sponge

You can find platinum mesh and sponge in laboratories – sometimes hiding in drains or collected on the bottom of tanks. Although platinum doesn’t rust or oxidize, it can discolor after it is exposed to high heat or some chemicals. You look at what appears to be a pile of gray or black powder and think, “this discolored stuff can’t possibly be platinum.”

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Looks can be deceiving, and stuff that looks worthless can be anything but. Your best way to know what you are looking at is to call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 and send us what you have for testing. We are here to answer all your questions about how to turn all that old, dull, graying platinum into bright shiny cash.

Related Posts:

Why Stuff that Doesn’t Glitter Could Be Platinum 
Why Used Thermocouple Wire Is a Top Candidate for Profitable Recycling 
Bright Shiny Platinum Could Be Hiding in Your Dented and Dirty Old Labware 
3 Things You Probably Never Knew about Platinum Sponges