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About Ferrous and Non-Ferrous
Ferrous metals are able to be recycled with steel being one of the most recycled materials in the world, Ferrous metals contain an appreciable percentage of iron and the addition of carbon and other substances creates steel. The Universal Symbol for Recyclable Steel The CEN Symbol for Recyclable SteelIn the USA, steel containers, cans, automobiles, appliances, and construction materials contribute the greatest weight of re-cycled materials. For example, in 2008, more than 97% of structural steel and 106% of automobiles were recycled, comparing the current steel consumption for each industry with the amount of recycled steel being produced (the late 2000s recession and the associated sharp decline in automobile production in the USA explains the over-100% calculation). A typical appliance is about 75% steel by weight and automobiles are about 65% steel and iron.
Important Non-Ferrous metals include aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin, titanium and zinc, and alloys such as brass. Precious metals such as gold, silver and platinum and exotic or rare metals such as cobalt, mercury, tungsten, beryllium, bismuth, cerium, cadmium, niobium, indium, gallium, germanium, lithium, selenium, tantalum, tellurium, vanadium, and zirconium are also non-ferrous. They are usually obtained through minerals such as sulfides, carbonates, and silicates.