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Va. recyclers back tweaks to scrap metals law

Keywords: Tags  scrap metals legislation, Virginia Metal Recyclers Association, recycling, Donald Merricks, Lisa Gordon

PITTSBURGH — Recyclers in Virginia are backing a scrap metals bill after they were able to offer suggestions on proposed changes to state law.

The bill, introduced by Republican Delegate Donald Merricks, would broaden who will be covered under the law, add more items to the list of proprietary metals and require that purchases of certain items be photographed.

"This bill is a product of a working group of recyclers, law enforcement, utility companies and other stakeholders," said a member of the Virginia Metal Recyclers Association, which has 26 members in the state.

The existing law applies to scrap processors, and one proposed amendment calls for changing the language to scrap purchaser and covering anyone buying more than $20,000 in scrap metals each year.

"This change in language from processor to purchaser is to get all the buyers who are slipping through the cracks, and will broaden as to who falls under the umbrella as a purchaser," the metals recycler told AMM. "It will also help law enforcement to get a grasp on who falls under the law. Right now there are too many classifications, which (makes) it difficult for law enforcement to enforce."

A second proposed change would expand the list of existing proprietary items—such as utility property and catalytic converters—to include manhole covers, aluminum bleachers and guard rails, and mining cable greater than 0.5 inch in diameter.

The current law requires a 15-day tag and hold on proprietary items that are sold to recyclers from unauthorized sellers. The proposed changes would require all proprietary items sold by unauthorized persons be photographed, with the records held for 30 days and be made available to law enforcement upon request.

The recycler said he is hopeful that the bill will pass without any substantive change. "We don’t want this to turn into a Christmas tree where people keep adding ornaments (or changes) to it," he said. "This current version is the product of a year’s hard work by the scrap metal task force to find common ground and enact reasonable regulation of the recycling industry."

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