Non-Ferrous vs Ferrous Scrap Metal


It is importance to know the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals when scraping your left over materials. Some scrap metal recyclers only scrap certain types of metal and you get different prices depending on if it ferrous or non-ferrous. In short, ferrous metals and alloys contain iron; and non ferrous metals do not. It can be difficult to differentiate the two so we have put together some information on the different characteristics of these metals.

Ferrous Metals:

ferrous-metal-500x500Ferrous metals include mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and wrought iron. These metals are primarily used for their tensile strength and durability, especially mild steel which can be used for building structures. Ferrous metals are commonly found in construction, industrial containers, automobiles, transportation and most tools and hardware you use around the house.

Most ferrous metals also have magnetic properties. Ferrous metals is the most recycled materials in the world. In 2008 alone, 1.3 billion tons of steel were produced, and 500 million tons of that was made from scrap materials. Ferrous metals tends to be in good supply, so the prices tend to be lower than non-ferrous metals. Because steel and iron alloys are constantly being recycled in high volume all over the globe, the price for ferrous metals stays fairly consistent on a month-to-month basis.

Non-Ferrous Metals:

copper_millberryNon-ferrous metals include aluminum, brass, copper, nickel, tin, lead, and zinc, as well as precious metals like gold and silver. While non-ferrous metals can provide strength, they are primarily used where their differences from ferrous metals can provide an advantage.

Non-ferrous metals are much more malleable than ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals are much lighter making it good for aircraft and canning industries. Because they don’t contain iron, non-ferrous metals have a higher resistance to rust and corrosion, which is why you’ll find these materials in gutters, water pipes, roofing and road signs.

Sofft-lead-scrap-1Non-ferrous metals are non-magnetic. Aluminum is the third most recycled material in the world. As well lead can be recycled over and over again without losing an quality which makes it perfect for scraping. Non-ferrous scrap, is somewhat harder to come by and this makes the demand higher which drives up the price per pound higher than ferrous metals. While aluminum prices don’t fluctuate often due to recycling efforts, others like copper and brass can change dramatically depending on the needs of the market.

Mayer Alloys

If you are looking to recycle make sure you check what types of metals they specifically recycle. Mayer Alloys specializes in recycling non-ferrous metals and would be happy to help you with your scraping needs. Mayer Alloys Corporation is based in the Metro Detroit area and provides business to business scrap metal recycling solutions. We provide our customers with:

  • Competitive Scrap Prices
  • On-Time Payment
  • Reliable Transportation
  • Environmentally Responsible Recycling and Documentation for your company’s records

Mayer Alloys can guarantee that your scrap metals and dross, regardless of quantities, will be processed in an ISO Certified 14001 facility. We are buyers and recyclers of all tin and lead based alloys as as well as other nonferrous metals and hard to recycle metals.


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