Scrap metal recycling can be a little confusing for beginners. There are different scrap metal classifications, grades and metal types of all types. Although it may seem irrelevant, it is important to know what type of metal you are dealing with.
Whether you’re building a structure from recycled scrap metal or simply trying to recycle some scrap metal for extra money, knowing the scrap metal classification will set you up for success.
Although scrap metal is often seen as waste, it is still a valuable product and a popular commodity. Now you need to understand the different classifications before you start recycling.
Ferrous metals are the most common type of recycled metals. In fact, the US processes enough ferrous metal daily to build 25 Eiffel Towers each day of the year. Now that’s too much metal!
The simplest way to distinguish it from non-ferrous metals is that all ferrous metals are magnetic. This is because the ferrous metal is iron or steel, or at least includes it.
Common items made from ferrous metal include refrigerators, ovens, cars, cast iron skillets, and more.
Ferrous metals also have a high carbon content, which often makes them prone to rust or corrosion, rendering them unusable.
Non-ferrous metals are non-ferrous so they are non-magnetic and typically more resistant to corrosion and rust than ferrous metals. These metals are often used in construction and building applications such as gutters, roofing, pipes and electrical.
Non-ferrous metals include brass, gold, nickel, tin, lead and zinc, among others. Common features of non-ferrous metals are that they are malleable and light. These properties make them particularly ideal for aircraft construction.
Scrap Metal Types
When you get down to the qualified classifications, there are hundreds or thousands of metal types. When you know the types of scrap metal you’re dealing with, it’s easier to know what you can and cannot do with it, where it’s commonly found, and what it’s worth.
Aluminum is one of the most commonly recycled scrap metals. You can find aluminum in soda cans, food packaging foil, screen door frames, or storm windows—just a few items.
Brass is a common metal found in and around your home. You can find it in places like your doorknobs, brass plates, and old bedsteads.
If you have a lot of tools, you will find carbide in tool bits or drill bits. So if you get a new set of tools for Father’s Day or just replace broken parts, remember that you can recycle them rather than throw them away.
copper scrap metal
Copper is the third most used metal in construction and manufacturing. Copper is very valuable and sought after. This metal is often found in your home’s plumbing, living room decor, appliances, kitchen sinks, pots, and electronic wiring.
Common household items such as cast iron pots and pans, lawn mowers, swings in your backyard, and iron railings are perfectly acceptable as scrap metal. Many outdoor furniture is also usually made of iron.
It takes so much energy to extract lead that manufacturers prefer to buy recycled lead as it saves time and money. It is also a highly toxic metal, so be sure to protect yourself and the environment when using it. Many older homes are made with lead water pipes that need to be replaced as soon as possible because it is dangerous to your health.
titanium scrap metal
Titanium is used in just about everything from jewelry to airplanes, and that’s why it’s so valuable. Once you have a versatile metal, you can use it in a number of projects. It is also very durable and corrosion resistant.
Scrap Metal Recycling
Now that you know all scrap metal classifications and different types of metal, you can take your scrap metal to an experienced scrap metal recycler like GLE Scrap Metal.
GLE Scrap Metal buys, processes and sells scrap metal in all grades and types. The biggest benefit of recycling scrap metal is that, in addition to getting it out of your hands, it keeps it out of our landfills, which is great for the environment.
Buying recycled scrap metal saves manufacturers time and money because they don’t have to waste time and resources buying new materials.
By recycling your scrap metal, you can generate additional income and save producers money while providing a cleaner and healthier environment for everyone.
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