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Kansas City alters recycling laws for vehicles, HVAC buys

Keywords: Tags  Kansas City, scrap metal laws, scrap purchasing laws, tag and hold, John A. Sharp, Scott Wagner, Kansas City Council, vehicle scrap HVAC scrap

NEW YORK — The city of Kansas City, Mo., has passed an ordinance that will require secondary metals recyclers to hold on to junked motor vehicles and their parts for 72 hours before altering or selling the material for scrap.

The ordinance, sponsored by council members John A. Sharp and Scott Wagner, received unanimous approval Oct. 17 and will go into effect in November, Sharp told AMM.

"Other than previously crushed motor vehicles, it shall be unlawful for any secondary metal recycler or its employees to sell, trade, shred, melt or crush, or in any way dispose of, alter or destroy a motor vehicle, or junk motor vehicle or vehicle parts ... until 72 hours, exclusive of weekends and federally designated holidays, after the time and date of its purchase," the ordinance states.

The ordinance seeks to close a loophole in previous legislation that subjected only auto salvage yards to the 72-hour rule, Sharp said.

"This ordinance puts them both on a level playing field," he said.

The ordinance also seeks to close a loophole that exempted vehicles that are more than 10 years old.

"There were many people in law enforcement who thought it was ill-advised to have a loophole if the car was more than 10 years old," Sharp said. "We’ve seen an explosion in auto thefts of older vehicles recently. From the start of 2013 to date, of the vehicles stolen in Kansas City, approximately 73 percent are 10 years or older. Police feel this large percentage is being taken for scrap and being shredded, rather than (thieves) trying to resell them as operating vehicles."

Sharp noted that the ordinance grants exemptions to already crushed vehicles, vehicles that have been acquired from another recycler already subjected to the 72-hour rule and vehicles purchased from sellers such as the city itself.

The city also passed an ordinance that relaxes purchasing requirements for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) components, while also requiring scrap dealers to set up an electronic database accessible by local authorities for combating scrap theft.

"The HVAC component restrictions that went into place in February of 2012 have been found to be too restrictive as they are prohibiting secondary metal recyclers from taking in the majority of HVAC components from the general public, including professional contractors, who are not licensed HVAC dealers or contractors but routinely dispose of HVAC components," the ordinance states.

Both ordinances were developed in consultation with the local scrap recycling industry, Sharp said.

"We have a really good dialogue with the scrap metal industry, and we feel very confident that the overwhelming majority of recyclers follow the letter and the spirit of the law," he said.

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