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Recycling Non-Ferrous Metals

Posted on 07 October 2019

With metal recycling, there’s often confusion between ferrous and non-ferrous metals. It’s actually quite simple – ferrous metal contains iron and non-ferrous metal does not. The important thing is that each type of metal (ferrous and non-ferrous) has unique qualities.

Non-ferrous metal is typically more expensive than other metal because of the benefits provided. For instance, aluminum is very lightweight and ideal for car parts – copper wire is an excellent conductor ideal for electronics – and zinc is corrosion resistant, just perfect for batteries.

Many non-ferrous metals are found in everyday domestic products. As such, the demand for this type of scrap is generally high, and much of the scrap is easily recycled. Non-ferrous scrap metal is accessible from a wide range of sources, including high volumes from industrial waste.


What are non-ferrous metals?

Because the non-ferrous metals do not contain iron, they tend to be more corrosion-resistant than the ferrous metals. Non-ferrous metals like aluminum and copper are very often used in industrial applications – everything from roofing, to piping, to electrical.

Non-ferrous metals have attractive properties for production and manufacturing. These metals are non-magnetic, pliable, and lightweight, thus making them highly versatile. Non-ferrous metal includes brass, , lead, nickel, tin, and zinc (perfect for many applications).

  • Aluminum – lightweight, easily shaped, and highly recyclable
  • Copper – very malleable, with excellent electrical conductivity
  • Lead – heavy, soft, and pliable with quite a low melting point
  • Tin – used to effectively coat steel metal to prevent corrosion
  • Zinc – low melting point, used to prevent rust on steel or iron

Today, with a focus on the environment, non-ferrous metals are an excellent resource to recycle, particularly for big industry. The metal is ideal for recovery, processing, and remanufacturing.


How non-ferrous metals are being recycled

While non-ferrous metals like aluminum, copper, and zinc are highly recyclable, the steps in the recycling process are similar. The important thing is to ensure a high level of purity for the waste.  

  • Sorting – the different types of non-ferrous metals must be appropriately separated
  • Bailing – once separated, the metals are compacted into large blocks for processing
  • Shearing – this process cuts down all of the scrap metal into more manageable sizes
  • Separation – this step ensures more separation to remove undesirable ferrous metal
  • Melting – metals are melted down into molten material and then shaped into blocks

Whatever the type of processing, one of the most important aspects of metal recycling is proper separation of scrap. This ensures purity of material and makes the processing effort less costly. In particular, it’s important to separate ferrous from non-ferrous metal (easily done with magnets).

Amongst the many benefits, metal recycling prevents the depletion of “virgin” resources. In fact, re-manufacturing waste metal uses much less energy than the mining and processing of “virgin” materials. This is especially relevant when it comes to industrial and manufacturing waste.


In the GTA, Tal Metal specializes in non-ferrous metal recycling 

Throughout the Greater Toronto Area, Tal Metal specializes in recycling non-ferrous metals. For residential or commercial collections, we offer competitive pricing, depending on quality and volume. Find out more by calling 905-660-7081 or send us a message .

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