Ferrous metals are one of the most recycled materials in the world and can come from various products such as cars, home appliances, construction materials and industrial machinery.
Steel is just one type of ferrous metal. The steelmaking industry is now hugely dependent on the recycling of scrap metal and almost 40% of the world’s steel production is made from scrap. One of the reasons for this is it’s a lot cheaper to use recycled steel than to go through the mining process and form new steel. Plus recycling steel uses around 75% less energy compared to creating steel from raw materials – enough to power about 18million homes.
What’s more, steel doesn’t lose any of its physical properties during the recycling process so can be efficiently used again.
5 Interesting facts about recycling Ferrous Metals*
- Around 40% of the world’s steel production is made from scrap
- Steel car frames contain at least 25% recycled steel and a typical electrical appliance will be made of 75% recycled steel
- Recycling steel uses around 75% less energy compared to creating steel from raw materials – enough to power about 18million homes
- Recycling 1 tonne of steel saves 1,100 kg of iron ore, 630kg of coal and 55kg of limestone
- Each year around 500 million tons of steel is produced from scrap materials
*Source: Bureau of International Recycling
What are Ferrous Metals?
Ferrous metals are mainly composed of iron (unlike non-ferrous materials), such as steel and cast iron.
They are durable and known for their tensile strength, so they’re used in construction, cars, rail and tools.
Another key feature is most ferrous metals also have magnetic properties, which makes them useful in the creation of motors and electrical appliances.
Additionally, due to the high amounts of carbon in them, most ferrous metals and alloys are vulnerable to rust when exposed to the elements. Although, this isn’t the case with wrought iron or stainless steel.
What metals are Ferrous?
There are a number of metals that are ferrous, including:
- Mild steel
- Carbon steel
- Stainless steel
- Cast iron
- Wrought iron
What Ferrous products can be recycled?
There are a wide range of ferrous metals that can be recycled, everything from a small can to railway tracks. Ferrous metals are magnetic so they can be easily separated from other products when being recycled and then melted down.
Vehicles such as cars and vans can also be recycled, as well as hardware and tools.
Many items around your home are also ferrous metals including home appliances such as washing machines and old cast iron bathtubs, old water tanks and cast iron pipes.
The construction industry uses and recycles a lot of scrap ferrous metal with items including beams, columns and scrap machinery.