Recycling Steel, Iron, And Other Ferrous Metals

Metal recycling is a common way to reuse resources to create new metals. While some nonferrous metals like copper and aluminum are often the focus of recycling, they are not the only metals that qualify. With ferrous steel recycling, the price potential is often lower, but it can still be very profitable if you wait for the price to rise.  

Understanding Ferrous Metal

The two categories of metals, ferrous and nonferrous, can be confusing, but in general, ferrous metal is anything that contains iron in the mix. Cast iron, wrought iron, carbon steel, and alloy steels are an example of ferrous metals. While they are recyclable, they are often not as sought after by manufacturers because they are so common that there is abundant material available. 

The amount of ferrous metal that manufacturers can reuse in the creation of new base materials is also smaller than nonferrous metals, so often, scrap yards will have ferrous metal products available in much larger amounts, and storage can quickly become a problem for them. Ferrous steel recycling is still a large part of the recycling market simply because of the amount of it being used for manufacturing and construction every day. 

Where To Recycle Materials

Like any metal you are working with, ferrous steel recycling starts at the local scrap yard. Like all recycled materials, the best way to ensure you are getting the best price for the steel is to break it down into types of steel when you take it to the recycler. If you have a lot of cast iron, separating that from the standard carbon steel or alloy steel you have collected can often bring a higher price. 

Learning to recognize the different materials is essential if you will recycle metal for profit. Most types have different properties you may notice or are stamped with the metal type in some cases to make it easier to identify when it is produced. If you are not sure what the material is, the scrap yard you are working with can often help you determine the make-up of the steel or iron when you take it to the yard.

While the price ferrous steel recycling brings is often lower than other materials, the weight is often higher, so the price will add up quickly if you have enough when you take it into the scrap yard. Typically the load is weighed when you go into the yard, and the attendant will issue you a pay slip for the weight and material type. Mixed loads are harder to process, but check with your local recycler and see how they prefer to have the material brought in.