Why Is It Important to Recycle Electric Motors?

Electric motors are gadgets that convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. These electric motors generate mechanical energy (force) through the interaction of its windings and magnetic field. Since the electric motors themselves have been discussed, one must comprehend why it is important to recycle electric motors. A few devices that utilize an electric motor include:

  • Industrial fans
  • Blowers
  • Pumps
  • Disk drives
  • Various machine tools

Why Recycle Electric Motors?

Electric motor recycling:

  • Reuses valuable materials
  • Reduces landfill pollution
  • Reduces solid waste
  • Protects natural resources
  • Reduces overall pollution

Since all parts of electric motors are metallic, they are 100% recyclable. Additionally, the copper elements of electric motors are extremely valuable and used in several different electrical devices. Recycling electric motors allows these materials to be reused for other products which keeps them out of landfills. Thus, less motors in landfills means a reduction in solid waste that which leads to the protection of natural resources. All of these environmental impacts lead an overall decrease in pollution which will make the environment greener and safer.

Now that the significance of electric motor recycling has been examined, it is crucial to understand the mechanics within an electric motor.

The Mechanics of an Electric Motor

Electric motors have three main size categories. These consist of:

  • Small motors. These motors range from the size of a basketball to larger than an apple. Smaller electric motors (e.g. electronic transformers in radio-controlled cars) are less sought after because of their low copper and aluminum content.
  • Large motors. Motors like this vary from bigger than a basketball to less than 2,000 pounds.
  • Over-sized motors. These motors are bigger than 2,000 pounds. Their demand changes due to their size and nonferrous metallic content.

The outside of electric motors consists of a strong steel shell that protects the delicate parts within. Furthermore, most motors have valuable copper and aluminum components. Some motors contain aluminum instead of copper which is still a valuable, reusable material; although, copper is more valuable at the end of the day. Steel can be recycled but aluminum and copper are more valuable. Subsequently, wood and plastic components are seen as a contaminant which lowers electric motors value.

It is very common to recycle electric motors. Basically, every electric item with a mechanical movement utilizes an electric motor. Some of these may even include an AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) electric motor. A couple of typical household, industrial and automotive items that use electric motors are…

Common Household Items with Electric Motors:

  • Microwaves
  • Hand tools
  • Air conditioners
  • Power supplies
  • Starters
  • Washing machines
  • Computers

Common Industrial Items with Electric Motors:

  • Transformers
  • Pumps
  • Machinery
  • Manufacturing equipment

Common Automotive Items with Electric Motors:

  • Starters
  • Alternators
  • Generators

Taking into account that the importance of recycling electric motors and the mechanics of electric motors have been talked about, it is imperative that one understands the recycling process.

The Electric Motor Recycling Process

The recycling of electric motors is mainly done on a large scale and is very simple. Recycling electric motors consists of:

  • First, professional recyclers collecting as many electric motors as possible to increase the chance of obtaining enough copper.
  • Next, a hammer or hammering mill breaks the metallic casting of the motor.
  • Furthermore, recyclers separate the components and categorize them according to their materials.
  • Lastly, they take the separated components to their various recycling points and recycle them.

Interco specializes in purchasing and recycling electric motors. As stated, electric motor recycling reuses valuable materials, reduces solid waste, reduces overall pollution and more.


Overall, electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. Gadgets like industrial fans, blowers, pumps and more need electric motors to function. There are small, large and over-sized motors that can be found in common items such as microwaves, hand tools, air conditioners and more.

Electric motor recycling reuses valuable materials, reduces solid waste, reduces overall pollution and more. Interco will even buy scrap electric motors in order to recycle them appropriately.

To learn more about how to recycle electric motors, click here to request a quote.

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