In a Nutshell: Ferrous Scrap Metal


The EPA estimates that scrap ferrous metals were generated at 18.2 Million Tons in 2015 (6% of total MSW production).

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The EPA estimates that the recycling rate for all appliances, including ferrous metals was 61.7%. The Agency estimates that the overall recycling rate of ferrous metals from durable goods (large, small, and furniture) was 27.8% (4.49 million tons) in 2015.

The EPA estimates that the steel can recycling rate is 71.3% (1.25 million tons) in 2015.

The use of ferrous scrap instead of virgin materials in the manufacture of iron and steel reduces CO2 emissions by 58%

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  • Recycling rates for ferrous scrap
  • For cars, 106%
  • Appliances up to 90%
  • Steel cans: 66.8%
  • 98% for structural steel
  • for reinforcement steel: 70%
  • Non-ferrous Scrap Metal

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While nonferrous scrap may make up a small portion of the total material recycled in the United States in terms of quantity, it is worth more than half the U.S. scrap industry’s total performance of $32 billion in 2015. The eight million tons of nonferrous scrap were processed from a variety of sources including consumer, industrial, and commercial. Secondary processors across the United States and in over 100 other countries consume nonferrous scrap including aluminum, copper.

Nonferrous metals are able to be recycled infinitely many times because they do not lose or degrade their chemical and physical properties.

Concerning non-ferrous metals: In 2017, the U.S. Scrap Industry processed (exports plus domestic recycling) more than:

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  • Aluminum – 3.7 Million metric tons
  • Copper – 0.86 Million Metre Tons
  • 07 million metric tonnes of lead and zinc
  • 09 Million Tons of Nickel/stainless Steel