A great story on the business of end-of-life aircraft.
The economics are really challenging. Recyclers typically purchase end-of-life aircraft for up to $20m (though typically much less), and then dismantle them to recover parts for resale. That works when fleets are stable, however when there is a large shift in fleets (such as where inefficient aircraft are replaced), then the parts are worth much less. Then the aircraft are recycled for scrap metal.
An organisation leading the way here is the Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association. It accredits organisations in dismantling and recycling aircraft, and has a good handle on the industry.
At its heart, to make money in dismantling aircraft, you have to know the aviation industry. Very well.
Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association: http://www.afraassociation.org/