Scrap Materials – Ferrous vs. Non- Ferrous

Scrap Materials – Ferrous vs. Non- Ferrous

In the scrap recycling industry, materials are grouped as either ferrous or non-ferrous. Ferrous means “made of or containing iron,” and non-ferrous refers to metals or metallic scrap that do not contain iron.

How does that translate to actual material?

Ferrous Metals
When you think of ferrous material, think of steel, iron and materials that are used for their strength and durability. These are the materials often used in construction, appliances, automobiles, sheet metal, and household tools. Ferrous materials tend to rust, and have magnetic pull. Common ferrous metals include steel, stainless steel, iron and wrought iron.

Ferrous materials are in high supply and are the most common scrap metal recycled. Therefore, prices historically don’t fluctuate dramatically.

Non-Ferrous Metals
Non-Ferrous materials are typically lighter-weight, less likely to rust, and more malleable than ferrous. These properties make them desirable for use in such products as aircraft, water pipes, and household metals that are exposed to weather. These metals are also non-magnetic, which makes them desirable for electrical wire. Common non-ferrous metals include copper, aluminum, and brass, and are found in copper wiring, plumbing, and aluminum siding.

While aluminum cans are a very widely recycled and abundant material, overall, non-ferrous metals are more rare, and typically yield a higher payout than ferrous materials. They also experience more volatile price changes.

Do you have some scrap to bring in, but not sure if it is made of ferrous or non-ferrous material? You can visit our accepted materials page for a complete list of commonly recycled items, and whether they fall into the ferrous or non-ferrous category. To determine current market value of your scrap metal, download the Mervis Scrapp App – learn more here.