non-ferrous metals recycling

Can Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metals be Recycled?

Posted On: January 12, 2023 Categories:

The main difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is that ferrous contains iron and the others don’t. Ferrous metals are used in housing construction and industrial containers. Non-ferrous metals, on the other hand, are much more malleable and lighter. Their use is suited when strength is required, but weight needs to be considered.

A common question with these materials is whether they can be recycled or not. A short answer for this question is that metals can be recycled, both ferrous and non-ferrous. This article delves into each of them to fully grasp the differences between these two metals and whether they can be recycled.

Ferrous Metals Recycling

steel metal

Any metal containing iron is referred to as ferrous, such as stainless steel. They are renowned for their tensile strength, making them perfect for constructing skyscrapers, bridges, trains, and other structures.

These are some examples:

  • Steel is created by combining carbon with iron, which hardens the iron.
  • Carbon steel is a type of steel that is frequently used in machine tools because of its high carbon content and remarkable hardness.
  • Alloy steel is a common metal used in building projects and includes stainless steel, which is manufactured using chromium.
  • Cast iron is a durable alloy consisting of iron, carbon, and silicon that is often used in water pipes and automotive engines.
  • Wrought iron is a common material for nails, chains, and barbed wire since it mostly consists of pure iron and contains very little carbon.
  • Scrap iron and various types of iron that are used in manufacturing, machinery, and component parts

The recycling process for ferrous scrap metals incurs it to be melted, cleaned, and then compressed into solid blocks.

Something interesting to highlight is that steel is the world’s most recycled material. But why is so easy to recycle? First, because it is magnetic, separating it from other metals is simple. 

Second, steel doesn’t lose any strength when it is remelted to create new steel, unlike recycled paper or glass, which degrade after recycling. As a result, steel retains all of its worth.

Non-Ferrous Metals Recycling

silver metal

None of the non-ferrous metals contain iron. They are more suited for situations where strength is required than ferrous metals since they are lighter and more pliable.

Non-ferrous metals are not magnetic but offer good corrosion resistance and can conduct heat and electricity. They are used for industrial piping, gutters, roofing, and electrical applications.

These are some examples:

  • Aluminum is a lightweight metal that is commonly utilized in the production of food cans and airplanes. Additionally, it’s utilized to construct culinary items, railroads, and automobiles.
  • The electrical industry primarily uses copper for wiring and other conductors, as well as for sheet roofing, statues, bearings, and the production of brass.
  • Lead is a pliable metal that resists corrosion from moisture, it is frequently used in building construction, batteries, and electrical power connections.
  • Galvanizing, which is the process of putting a protective zinc coating to iron or steel to prevent rust, makes extensive use of zinc, which can be easily machined.
  • Tin is frequently used to coat steel to stop corrosion, and tinplate steel is what is utilized to create food-safe tin cans.

Non-ferrous metals can be recycled multiple times because doing so does not cause them to lose their chemical properties or deteriorate.

Also, when you consider how much energy is saved when recycling metal vs mining new metal ores, it comes as no surprise that scrap metal is one of the most sought-after commodities in recycling.

When it comes to recycling, for instance, copper recycling is almost as effective as recycling aluminum, requiring less of the energy required to mine new copper ore from the earth. Recycling scrap aluminum also uses a less percent of the energy than producing virgin aluminum.

Fun fact: It only takes 60 days for a used aluminum can to be recycled and put back on the grocery shelf!

OC Recycling Is the Best Choice for You

Now that you know the difference and properties of ferrous and non-ferrous metals, you can get in touch with us when you need to recycle it.

At OC Recycling, we are a full-service recycler, specializing in a wide range of recycling materials. These include CRV Materials, Cardboard, Computers, ferrous and non-ferrous recycling services. Contact us today!

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