As defined, non-ferrous metals are those metals (and including alloys) that do not contain iron in measurable amounts. These metals are more expensive than other metals because they offer benefits that are attractive to industrial manufacturers. For example, aluminium is lightweight – perfect for the car industry; copper is a good conductor – ideal for electronic manufacturers; and zinc is resistant to corrosion – just what you need for batteries.
Non-ferrous metals include dozens of metal families: there are the well-known examples like lead, nickel and brass; precious metals like gold, silver and platinum; and the more exotic metals like cobalt, cadmium and lithium (many of these reminding us of household products that we use every day).
Because so many of the non-ferrous metals are used in everyday products, and since demand is ever increasing, non-ferrous scrap metal is often recycled. This type of scrap metal is readily available for processing and recycling from many sources, including high proportions from industrial waste.
We know how much the mining and excavation of non-ferrous metals pollutes our environment – news reports are full of these stories, and of the extensive nature of environmental pollutants. So, environmental concern is just one good reason to recycle non-ferrous metals, wherever possible. Throughout the industry, all manner of these metals is being recovered, processed and refined, then remanufactured.
The fact is, industrial and manufacturing waste is ginormous these days – just imagine the scrap metal generated by the automobile industry, or the way we dump obsolete appliances, or the amount of computer ware that we discard. The waste is there, and the commercial demand for non-ferrous metals is ever increasing – it’s a perfect formula for reduction, reuse and recycling.