Does It Make Sense for A Repair Shop to Recycle Spark Plugs?
Each year, hundreds of millions of spark plugs are replaced. The vast majority of these spark plugs end up in landfills or as scrap steel. Unfortunately, this has been the case because there has been no way to harvest the precious metals left over from the discarded spark plug until now, thanks to innovative technology. Most spark plugs contain platinum or iridium, both of which are highly valuable recyclable precious metals. There is a significant benefit to properly recycling these spark plugs, both for the environment and for the repair shops that take the time to collect them.
Many auto repair shops are becoming aware that precious metal can be found in a variety of scrap items that they deal with on a daily basis. Examples include the infamous catalytic converter, which contains precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium and provides most repair shops with a sizable additional revenue from recyclers. Another example is the oxygen sensor, which contains platinum and can provide automotive shops with extra revenue from recyclers. Spark plugs, however, are the most recent automotive component that can be recycled for profit due to the platinum or iridium found on the tips.
Automotive repair shops would have to join the automotive recycling program, which has requirements, to recycle spark plugs. Our program’s prerequisites are straightforward. The three materials we process require a total of 700 lbs. gross weight. Combining oxygen sensors (with or without wiring harnesses), spark plugs (only iridium or platinum), and a minimum of ten OEM catalytic converters can meet this weight requirement. We even send a welcome packet to the shop outlining the process and including stickers to keep the boxes organized while collecting materials!
Is It Worth the Effort?
Because most vehicle owners need to replace their spark plugs around 40,000 miles, a busy automotive repair shop can quickly accumulate the spark plugs required. The shop will eventually have the required weight and, thanks to the simple process, will be paid for items that would otherwise have ended up in the trash or scrapped for a very low return. It is unquestionably worthwhile to recycle spark plugs.