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The metals other than iron and alloys that do not contain an appreciable amount of ferrous (iron) are known as non-ferrous metals. A distinguishing feature of non-ferrous metals is that they are highly malleable (i.e., they can be pressed or hammered into thin sheets without breaking). Non-ferrous metals have one valuable advantage over ferrous metals, which is that they are highly corrosion and rust resistant because they do not have any iron content in them. Consequently, these materials are suitable for highly corrosive environments such as liquid, chemical and sewage pipelines. Non-ferrous metals are also non-magnetic, which make them suitable for many electrical and electronic applications. Some commonly used non-ferrous metals are copper, zinc, aluminum, lead, nickel, cobalt, chromium, gold, silver and many others.


Copper was the first metal to be worked by man, along with gold and meteoritic iron. This is because these metals were among the few that exist in their native state, meaning the relatively pure metal could be found in nature. Copper has many desirable properties, characteristic of transition metals. It is soft, malleable, ductile, and an excellent conductor of heat and electricity, and it resists corrosion. Nearly 80 percent of the copper that has been mined to date is still in use.

Common items made from copper include:

  1. Insulated wire including electrical wire
  2. Copper plumbing pipes
  3. Christmas lights
  4. Coax cable
  5. Electric motors
  6. Ballasts
  7. Sealed units
  8. Aluminium/copper radiators
  9. Copper bathtubs, door knobs, pull handles


Brass is a metal that is yellow in color and is made of copper and zinc.  Brass is used for instruments because it is stronger and harder then copper, but not as strong as steel, so it is easy to form into different shapes. It is also used for locks, gears, bearings, doorknobs, ammunition casings, valves, zippers, plumbing and electrical applications. Brass has good heat and electrical conductivity and is spark resistant. It also has relatively good resistance to corrosion and an attractive appearance. Today, almost 90% of all brass alloys are recycled.

Common items made from brass include:

  1. Musical instruments including trumpets, horns, tubas, and trombones.
  2. Vehicle radiators
  3. Door handles, pulls, and railings
  4. Ammunition casings
  5. Marine hardware
  6. Plumbing fixtures, fittings, and valves
  7. Locks, hinges, and gears
  8. Electrical plugs and sockets
  9. Jewelry
  10. Light fixtures


Aluminum is the most widespread metal on earth. It comes from bauxite, which is processed to get Aluminum. It is very ductile, and it may be shaped into everything from bicycle frames to kitchen utensils. It is considered a lightweight metal given a piece of aluminum only weighs 1/3 as much as steel. Aluminum reacts with the oxygen in the air, forming a protective oxide coating that makes it corrosion resistant. Aluminum requires only 5% of the original production energy to be recycled and none of its material properties are lost in the recycling process. This explains why nearly 75% of all aluminum ever produced is still in use. 

Common items made from aluminum include:

  1. Auto components and car rims
  2. Bike frames
  3. Foil
  4. Screen door and window frames
  5. Patio furniture
  6. Gates and fencing
  7. Power lines
  8. Household and industrial appliances
  9. Aircraft and spacecraft components
  10. Consumer electronics (smartphones, tablets, and laptops)

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel is the generic name for a number of different steels used primarily for their resistance to corrosion. The one key element they all share is a certain minimum percentage (by mass) of chromium: 10.5%. In addition to being corrosion resistant, stainless steel is remarkably resistant to fire and heat. It can also deoderize smells by transferring odors to the stainless steel. Stainless steel is one of the few materials that is able to maintain its strength after being recycled and is 100% recyclable.

Common items made from stainless steel include:

  1. Kitchen appliances including stoves, toasters, and microwaves.
  2. Tableware and cutlery
  3. Kitchen sinks
  4. Gardening equipment
  5. Surgical tools
  6. Building structures
  7. Escalators
  8. Monuments and sculptures
  9. Auto bodies
  10. Rail cars and aircrafts


California Business & Professions Code 21606

  1. State issued Driver’s License or California issued ID. The ID cannot be expired and must be presented at the time of sale.
  2. Vehicle license plate of vehicle used to transport the non-ferrous materials.
  3. A photograph or video of the seller is required.
  4. A thumbprint from the seller is required.
  5. Payments are made 3 days after the sale UNLESS
    A. The seller has the following on file with Capital City Recycling:
    i. Business license # or tax identification #
    ii. Physical business address and business telephone #
    iii. Copy of the seller’s valid state issued ID that matches the ID provided at the scale.
    B. The seller has completed five (5) or more separate transactions in each of the last 3 months. 
  6. Please note that If payment is mailed, checks can only be sent to the address on the provided identification.
  7. Please note that there are NO exceptions to these requirements. All records are kept for a minimum of two years. All information and records is submitted to law enforcement when requested.
Please note that there are NO exceptions to these requirements. All records are kept for a minimum of two years. All information and records is submitted to law enforcement when requested.

Learn More About Non-Ferrous Metals