Ferrous vs Non-ferrous Scrap Metal

Non-ferrous scrap metal tends to fetch a higher price, so we’re often asked why there can be a big difference in the price of ferrous metal versus non-ferrous metal. The simple answer is that there’s just a lot more ferrous scrap metal out there. But what’s the difference anyway?

Ferrous Metal

Ferrous metals contain iron, which the chemistry or Latin geeks among you probably knew already, since iron is Fe (short for the Latin ferron) on the periodic table. The most common examples of ferrous metals are steels and irons and are found in anything from skyscrapers to cars, tools and knives. They’re magnetic and known for strength and durability, but they are also susceptible to rust.

Non-ferrous Metal

Non-ferrous metals tend to be known as precious metals like gold, silver and copper, but also tin, lead, brass, aluminum and more. They’re more malleable and non-magnetic, which is why you’ll find a lot of them in wiring and electronics. Some though, like aluminum, brass and lead, are used for things like piping and siding.


Since non-ferrous metals fall in the precious metals category, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that they are more rare and tend to fetch higher prices. Non-ferrous metal prices tend to fluctuate from month to month as well, depending on supply and demand at any given time.

Ferrous metals, as we’ve mentioned, are found in a lot of common items. As such, they’re almost always high in supply, which keeps the prices for them lower and consistent.

If you’re looking to buy or sell your ferrous or non-ferrous scrap metal, stop by Southern Metals Recycling. If you’ve got any questions about what we’ve got on hand or our prices, give us a call at 910-762- 2646 for our location on Highway 421 N, 910-762-9619 for our downtown Wilmington location and 910-524-5618 for our Resale Warehouse.