Fleet News

Fleets urged to turn used catalytic converters into cash

Fleet managers are throwing away millions of pounds each year because they don’t know the recycled value of equipment designed to cut tailpipe emissions.

Instead of being regarded as scrap and consigned to the rubbish skips, used catalytic converter units could be a lucrative source of income, claims Britain’s largest specialist ‘cat’ recycler.

“Money is wasted every time a converter is thrown away because people generally fail to appreciate they contain precious metals capable of being used again and that recycling is big business,” said Platinum Recoveries managing director and former Network Rail fleet manager Chuck Ives.

“The amount of platinum ending up in UK scrap bins is huge – I’d rate it as equal to the annual output of Russia, which is the world’s second largest platinum producer.

“This is a problem of massive proportions and it’s a pity that many fleet bosses don’t seem to recognise the existence of another profit stream.”

According to the AA, a reasonable life expectancy for a catalytic converter is 50,000 miles, meaning a large proportion of company cars and vans will require at least one new one during their time on the fleet. They may also need replacing after an accident or in the case of an MOT failure for emissions.

A business development director with Investselect Group, Ives has taken charge of the PRL operation at Swindon after a successful career running the 8,500-strong Network Rail vehicle fleet.

“While I was there, I won the Fleet News Fleet Manager of the Year award and was recognised for cutting costs, increasing reliability and being innovative. But in all my years at Network Rail, I never earned the company a penny for a catalytic converter,” said Ives.

“In the 10 years prior to that, I ran the Jarvis Group of 5,500 vehicles and, again, I never got a penny for a cat. I wonder how many of the units ended up being thrown in the bin when I was in charge.

“In all probability, they were sold to other people for a few pounds and then taken to scrapyards to be sorted and resold to companies like ours that specialise in extracting platinum and other precious metals,” he added.

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