Know Your Metals: Ferrous vs. Non-Ferrous Metals

There are two primary classifications of metal in the scrap metal recycling industry, ferrous and non-ferrous. Both types of metals are used across a wide range of industries, including industrial, commercial and consumer. Their differentiating characteristics allow for both types of metal to serve unique purposes.

Ferrous Metals

It’s likely that some of the appliances in your kitchen or perhaps the knives you use to prepare delicious dinners are made from ferrous metals. Stainless steel, cast and wrought iron, mild steel and carbon steel are all ferrous metals. Heavy in weight, ferrous metals and alloys are mostly comprised of iron and trace amounts of other elements and metals. With tremendous durability and strength, they are used in the construction of bridges, skyscrapers and even railroads. Iron has a low resistance to rust and corrosion so any rusting metal you see is likely a ferrous metal. Structural steel, automobiles and appliances are three common sources of ferrous scrap metal.

Non-Ferrous Metals

Are you wearing gold earrings or a silver bracelet? Both of these precious metals are non-ferrous! Unlike their ferrous counterparts, non-ferrous metals do not contain any iron and are non-magnetic, making them the ideal metal to use in the production of electronic devices. While they too are strong metals, non-ferrous metals are more malleable and serve different purposes than ferrous metals. Since they are light in weight, they are used to construct airplane parts, electronic devices and aluminum siding. Other non-ferrous metals include copper, aluminum, tin, and lead, to name a few. After enduring the recycling process, they don’t degrade at all, meaning that non-ferrous metals can be recycled an endless number of times.

Recycling is Eco-Friendly

Regardless of whether the metal we are scrapping is ferrous or non-ferrous, we ensure that it is processed in an environmentally-friendly manner. Our commitment to sustainability and the environment has been a top priority since our inception in the early 1900’s. That commitment is evident in the numbers, each month Okon Metals recycles millions of pounds of both ferrous and non-ferrous metals.


Terrence Gordon