Scrap Metal
What Are Ferrous Metals & How Can They Be Recycled?

What Are Ferrous Metals & How Can They Be Recycled?

Metal recycling can be divided into two categories: ferrous metals and non-ferrous metals. Among these, ferrous metals are actually the most commonly recycled, and you might be throwing them away without even realizing their value!

Ferrous metals have been around for centuries, playing a crucial role in industries from construction to healthcare. They are known for their strength and durability. The key difference between ferrous metals and others is that ferrous metals contain iron.

So, what exactly is ferrous metal recycling? Let’s break it down simply.

Additionally, we’ll explain everything about ferrous metals, their common types, and why recycling them is so important.

Let’s get started!

What Is Ferrous Metal?

‘Ferrous’ is a term that comes from the Latin word ‘ferrum’, which means iron.

So, the key feature of ferrous metals is their high iron content, that gives them magnetic properties and makes them prone to rust. Many people think that the main difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metals is how magnetic they are. But in fact, it’s the iron that sets them apart!

Ferrous Metal Definition:

‘Ferrous metal is the metal that contains iron in its composition which makes it magnetic and prone to rust.’

The large amount of iron in the composition of ferrous metals makes them harder and stronger than other metals. This is why they are widely used in construction and manufacturing. Their strength and durability make them ideal for building structures, automotive components, and heavy machinery.

Properties of Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals have been essential for centuries, and it’s easy to see why. They offer a range of beneficial properties that make them perfect for various products and applications. Here’s what makes ferrous metals apart:

  • They have high tensile strength
  • They are Magnetic
  • They are prone to rust/corrosion
  • They are good conductors of electricity
  • They are recyclable
  • They are highly resistant to temperature
  • They have varied appearances (typically; silver or greyish)

Types of Ferrous Metals

Ferrous metals come in many varieties, each with unique properties largely influenced by their carbon content. Here are some common ferrous metal examples:

Ferrous Metal Type Description
Carbon Steel


–       It comprises about 90% iron

–       Incredibly strong, making it ideal for large structures, automotive parts, and tools.


Cast Iron


–       With around 2-4% carbon content

–       Strong but can be hard

–       Used in products like cookware, manhole covers, pans, gates, and vices.


Stainless Steel


–       It’s an alloy that includes high levels of chromium, making it excellent resistant to corrosion.

–       Commonly used in appliances, cooking utensils, and medical instruments.


Wrought Iron


–       It contains very low carbon content; less than 0.08%

–       Includes slag, giving it a distinctive grainy appearance

–       It’s tough, corrosion-resistant

–       Used in gates, fences, bridges, and anchors

What Are Some Common Items Made of Ferrous Metal?

Ferrous metals are everywhere, often without us even noticing!

  • Many household appliances, like refrigerators, ovens, and dishwashers, are made from ferrous metals.
  • Have any cast iron skillet pan at home? Those are ferrous metals too, and they can be recycled.
  • If your home or yard has a wrought iron fence, that’s another example of ferrous metal.
  • When you park your car in a concrete and steel parking garage, you’re surrounded by ferrous metal, as steel is a ferrous metal. This is just one example of the many steel structures in our cities.
  • For train enthusiasts, ferrous metal is all around you, from the railroad tracks to various components of the trains themselves.
  • Prefer the countryside? Most farm equipment is made of ferrous metals, and all of it can be recycled when it’s time for an upgrade.

No matter where you live, ferrous metals are a big part of our daily lives. The challenge is increasing awareness because ferrous metals easily rust and corrode, leading to their disposal instead of recycling.

Are Ferrous Metals Recyclable?

YES! Ferrous metals can be recycled repeatedly without losing their quality. This makes them highly prized in the scrap metal recycling industry.

The recycling process involves carefully separating them from non-ferrous metals, processing, melting down, and purifying them. This results in new, high-quality materials made with much less energy compared to extracting metals from raw ore.

Ferrous Metal Recycling Process | How Are Ferrous Metals Recycled?

Recycling scrap metal is not only practical but also beneficial for the environment. Every day, we handle large quantities of ferrous metal at our advanced waste transfer facility.

Here are 6 simple steps of how ferrous metal recycling works:

  1. Collection of Scrap Metal: First, the scrap metal needs to be brought to the transfer station. This can be done by dropping it off or having it picked up by our fleet of vehicles, based on your needs.
  1. Sorting the Metals: Once the metal arrives, it’s sorted using magnets and eddy currents to distinguish ferrous metals from non-ferrous ones, as they need to be recycled separately.
  1. Shredding / Processing: To make melting more efficient, the metal is shredded into smaller pieces. This reduces the energy required to melt it down.
  2. Melting: The shredded metal is then placed in a large furnace and heated until it becomes molten.
  3. Purification: To ensure high quality, the molten metal is purified to remove any contaminants. This is usually done through a process called electrolysis.
  4. Solidifying: Finally, the purified metal is cooled and solidified into specific shapes such as bars, sheets, or blocks, depending on its intended use.

What Are Recycled Ferrous Metals Used For?

Recycled ferrous metals like iron and steel, are typically reused to create new products similar to their original applications. Here are some of the common ways recycled ferrous metals are utilized:

  • Building Construction and Infrastructure
  • Vehicle Manufacturing
  • Machinery and Equipment
  • Industrial Tools
  • Electrical Appliances
  • Cookware and Cutlery
  • Food Packaging Materials
  • Weapons / Defense Equipment

Why Ferrous Metal Recycling Is Important | Top 4 Benefits

Recycling ferrous metals is essential for both the environment and the economy. These metals can be repeatedly recycled without losing their quality, making them an invaluable resource.

Here are a few reasons why recycling ferrous metals is important:

  • Energy and Cost Savings / Economic Advantages

Scrap metal recycling industry creates jobs and boosts local economies. Businesses can earn money by recycling their scrap metal, and using recycled metals is generally cheaper than using new raw materials. For instance, recycling steel uses 75% less energy than producing new steel from raw materials, leading to cost savings for consumers.

  • Environmental Benefits

Ferrous metal recycling reduces pollution and conserves natural resources. Instead of mining new iron ore and recycling uses existing metals reduces carbon emissions and environmental damage. For example, using recycled ferrous metals reduces CO2 emissions by 58% compared to using virgin materials. Moreover, recycling also keeps valuable metals out of landfills, which prevents pollution and conserves resources.

  • Energy Conservation

As mentioned above, metal recycling uses much less energy than producing new metals from raw materials. Thus, this process saves about 75% of the energy needed for new steel production, lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing production costs.

  • High Recycling Rates

Steel is one of the most recycled materials worldwide. With nearly 40% of global steel production coming from recycled scrap, the efficiency and importance of recycling are clear.

Do you have ferrous metals that need recycling?

Choose WA Scrap Metal for Your Scrap Metal Recycling Needs

WA Scrap Metal specializes in buying, processing, and selling all types of ferrous scrap metal to benefit both the environment and the economy. We proudly offer expert scrap metal recycling services to all demolition companies, private businesses, households and the general public.

Get instant cash for scrap metal and create a cleaner and healthier environment with us.

Call us at 0498 972 612 or Request a Bin

Recycle with WA Scrap Metal Today!

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