Scrap Metal Classifications


  • Ferrous is a metal classification that includes magnetic materials, such as carbon steel, stainless steel and iron. When the word ferrous is used, it is indicating that the metal contains iron in its composition. To determine if your metal is ferrous, simply hold a magnet to the piece and see if it sticks. Ferrous metals tend to be heavy and dense, although they do tend to corrode more easily than non-ferrous metals.


  • Non-ferrous metals contain no iron and are not magnetic. Brass, aluminum, copper, bronze, tin, lead, magnesium, pewter and zinc are among the metals in this group. Gold and silver are also part of this group, but usually you would take those metals to a jeweler, not a scrap dealer. Aluminum is the most recycled non-ferrous metal and it doesn’t lose its quality even after it has been melted down and reshaped multiple times. Some metals, such as bronze and copper, can fetch a nice price because the metal is in demand. Make sure to separate metals and remove the any screws from the items so you can get the best possible price. The current metal market prices will determine how much you get for each metal.


  • Wire should be separated so it can be weighed and graded. High-voltage electrical wire should be separated from the low-voltage communication wires. This will make a difference in the price you get because of the copper and aluminum content of each. The high voltage wire is heavier, thicker and will have more copper than smaller communication wires.


  • Metal recyclers also take automobiles and automotive motors. The motors must not have fluids in them. Whole automobiles should have fluids drained and tires removed. If you are planning on bringing a whole automobile to a recycler, you must have the vehicle’s title or abandoned-vehicle documentation signed by a state official, such as a police officer.


  • You can recycle some metal household appliances. It is a good idea to cut the heavy wiring off of dryers, stoves and refrigerators. You can recycle the wires separately for more money. Freon must be removed by a professional before recycling refrigerators.


History of QRS Recycling
Pioneering Potential Since 1974

Learn more about QRS Single Stream Recycling — how it works, how it helps, and how easy it can be to implement in your business.  More Videos

Calculate Your Savings

Start making a difference

Jobs at QRS Recycling Talent Network