Nonferrous scrap metal is scrap metal other than iron and steel. The term non-ferrous simply indicates metals other than iron and alloys not containing an appreciable amount of iron. These items are non-magnetic.
Nonferrous scrap metal includes aluminum, which includes foil and cans, copper, lead, zinc, nickel, titanium, cobalt, chromium, and precious metals. While the volume of non-ferrous scrap metal is less then ferrous scrap, it is more valuable by the pound then ferrous scrap metal.
Aluminum, copper and brass are the most commonly recycled non-ferrous metals, mostly because they’re often used in common consumer items.
As with recycling of any material, recycling of non-ferrous metals reduces the amount of space taken up in the nation’s landfills, which are closing in on their capacities at alarming rates. And in terms of energy consumption compared to mining virgin ore, the savings is considerable. For example, it takes 95 percent less energy to process recycled aluminum than it takes to mine and process it, and copper requires 90 percent less.
One of the most commonly used non-ferrous metals is aluminum. It’s also the most abundant metal in the earth’s crust, so it’s not surprising that it’s one of the most widely recycled materials today.
Copper is another very important pure non-ferrous metal. It’s mostly used in the manufacturing of electric wires, cables and conductors, plus pipe, cylinders and printed circuit boards.
Brass contains 65% copper and 35% zinc and is a good electrical conductor and can be used in a wide variety of items such as musical instruments, doorknobs, plumbing fixtures, mailboxes and household ornaments.
Lead is the heaviest common metal. Its uses are different than other non-ferrous metals, perhaps best known for use in protection against radiation (x-rays), it can also be found in, roof coverings and flashings as well as wheel and fishing weights.
Zinc is the primary component of the hot-dip galvanized coating. This vital metal is abundant and—more importantly—infinitely recyclable. Great Northwest Recycling accepts zinc skimmings and draws from galvanizing. We also accept zinc ingots no matter the quantity, size or chemistry.
Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of other metals (such as aluminum, manganese, nickel or zinc) and sometimes non-metals or metalloids such as arsenic, phosphorus or silicon.
Non-ferrous metals are used because of desirable properties such as low weight (e.g. aluminum), higher conductivity (e.g. copper), non-magnetic property or resistance to corrosion (e.g. zinc). Some non-ferrous materials are also used in the iron and steel industries.
Additionally the recovery of non-ferrous metals for recycling provides both environmental and economic benefits.