How to Recycle Electric Motors: The Process

These electric motors generate mechanical energy (force) through the interaction of its windings and magnetic field. Now that electric motors themselves have been examined, it is important to learn exactly how to recycle electric motors. Electric motors are devices that convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. Some gadgets that use an electric motor include:
  • Industrial fans
  • Blowers
  • Pumps
  • Disk drives
  • Various machine tools

How to Recycle Electric Motors

Recycling electric motors is mostly done on a large scale and is very straightforward. Electric motor recycling consists of:
  • First, recyclers collecting as many electric motors as possible to increase the change of getting enough copper.
  • Then, a hammer or hammering mill breaks the metallic casting of the motor.
  • Afterwards, professional recyclers separate the components and categorize them according to their materials.
  • Finally, they take the separated components to their different recycling points and recycle them.
Interco specializes in buying and recycling scrap electric motors. Recycling electric motors reuses valuable materials, reduces solid waste, reduces overall pollution and more. Since the recycling process has been discussed, one must be familiar with the mechanics of an electric motor.

Electric Motor Mechanics

Electric motors have three main categories of size. The categories are:
  • Small motors. These motors are range from the size of a basketball to slightly larger than an apple. Even smaller electric motors, like electronic transformers in radio-controlled cars, are less desirable due to their low copper and aluminum content.
  • Large motors. Motors like this vary from larger than a basketball to less than 2,000 pounds.
  • Over-sized motors. These motors are larger than 2,000 pounds. They vary in demand due to their size and nonferrous metallic content.
The exterior of most electric motors is a strong steel shell that protects the fragile parts within. Also, most motors contain valuable copper and aluminum components. Some motors contain aluminum instead of copper which is still a valuable, reusable material. However, at the end of the day more copper within an electric motor makes it more valuable; behind copper is aluminum. Steel can be recycled but it is not as valuable as copper or aluminum. Consequently, wood and plastic components are seen as a contaminant so the presence of these materials on a motor actually lowers its value. Electric motors are a very common item to recycle. Virtually every electric item with a mechanical movement uses an electric motor. Some of these may even include an AC (alternating current) or DC (direct current) electric motor. Some common 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:

Considering that the mechanics and recycling process of electric motors has been talked about, it is vital that one understands the importance and effects of electric motor recycling.

Why Recycle Electric Motors?

Recycling electric motors:
  • Reuses valuable materials
  • Reduces landfill pollution
  • Reduces solid waste
  • Protects natural resources
  • Reduces overall pollution
Because all parts of electric motors are metallic, they are 100% recyclable. Also, the copper elements of electric motors are very valuable and used in many different electrical devices. Electric motor recycling allows these materials to be reused for other products which keeps them out of landfills. Hence, less motors in landfills means less solid waste which protects natural resources. All of these steps lead to an overall decrease in pollution which helps the environment become cleaner and greener.


In summary, electric motors convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. Devices like industrial fans, blowers, pumps and more utilize electric motors. There are small, large and over-sized motors that can be found in everyday items such as microwaves, hand tools, air conditioners and more. When professional recyclers at Interco recycle electric motors, this reuses valuable materials, reduces solid waste, reduces overall pollution and more. Interco will even purchase scrap electric motors to recycle them properly. To learn more about recycling electric motors, click here to request a quote.
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