Iron & steel scrap, also referred to as ferrous material, can come to a scrapyard from end of life products or as waste from the manufacturing process. Ferrous metals and alloys contain iron; non-ferrous materials do not. But it’s not so easy to tell when just looking at a random piece of metal. Luckily, there are several other factors that differentiate the two.
Ferrous metals include mild steel, carbon steel, stainless steel, cast iron, and wrought iron. You can find ferrous metals in housing construction, industrial containers, large-scale piping, automobiles, rails for railroad and transportation, most of tools and hardware you use around the house, and the knives you cook with at home.
Due to the large amounts of carbon used in the smelting process, most ferrous metals and alloys are vulnerable to rust when exposed to the elements. While this isn’t true of wrought iron, which is so iron pure that it resists oxidization, or stainless steel, which is protected thanks to its high chromium content, it’s a good rule of thumb that if you see rust, it’s a ferrous metal. The other tell-tell sign of ferrous metals is that they are magnetic, due to their iron content.
A Few Industry Stats:
- While aluminum is the most common metal found in the Earth’s crust, the most common metal found on Earth is iron, mostly because it makes up such a large part of the Earth’s core.
- Coins are not made from iron. If they were, they would rust too easily from the water vapor in the atmosphere and the oils from our fingers and be useless as they would not last long.
- Steel is an important alloy (combination of metals) that is created from a mixture of metals, mostly iron. Steel is commonly used to make a number of products including knives, machines, train rails, cars, motors and wires.
- 40% of the world’s steel production is made from scrap.
TT&E Iron and Metal accepts both ferrous and nonferrous metals for recycling. Non-ferrous metals are generally more expensive than ferrous metals because of their different properties like being lower weight, non-magnetic, and in some cases having higher conductivity.
Metal Items TT&E Does Not Accept:
- Televisions or computer monitors
- Sealed containers, cans and tanks (must be cut in half)
- Hazardous waste and material containing PCBs
- Appliances containing CFCs, capacitors, mercury switches