Companies gear up for new restrictions on scrap metal sales - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Companies gear up for new restrictions on scrap metal sales

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) -

Recycling companies across Kentucky are gearing up for new restrictions on scrap metal sales.

Governor Steve Beshear signed House Bill 390 into law this week

The law will now require background checks for recycling companies and it prohibits cash payments for eleven types of restricted metals including certain air conditioning unit metals made from copper and aluminum.

While some recycling companies say the bill is a step in the right direction to deterring crime, many argue they are already taking many of the precautions required by the new law.

At Blue Grass Recycling in Burlington they say they are ready to enforce the new regulations, but they also have some concerns.

"There's definitely some good that's going to come out of it," said Thomas Wilson of Blue Grass, "But the problem is by saying to pay by a check for a restricted item is going to solve it, unfortunately that's not the case because that's tantamount to saying only honest people cash checks. "

Right now everyone gets cash for all recycled goods, but starting Thursday any of the items on the restricted list get a check in the mail. The list includes everything from manhole covers and utility poles to guardrails funeral markers and stainless steel beer kegs. Checks can only be sent to street addresses not P.O. Boxes.

At the end of the day, Wilson says only about ten percent of their business comes from those materials.

"There's a lot of items that I think people aren't necessarily looking at that's a necessary portion of this business," Wilson explained. "It's just not the not newsworthy items unfortunately."

Wilson worries his industry has gotten a bad rap from a few bad apples.

"I think unfortunately there's this negative stigma that we are just kind of almost organized crime if you will," he said.

Instead he argues many companies have already been taking steps to prevent crime without being required to.

Wilson says his company spent a quarter of a million dollars a few years ago to update their system. He says they now take pictures of every scrap load that comes in and they scan the drivers licenses of all sellers.

"It gives me all of the information I need," he said. "In the event law enforcement did need to look you up for anything, we're going to have you right here."

Even still, Wilson argues posting signs and writing laws likely will not stop thieves for good. Instead he says it will likely just send them looking for new places where they can get away with it. 

"We wanted the law to deter metal thefts," he said. "But more than anything it's going to defer and by that I mean in the Tri-state area not all of these laws are uniform or standardized."

The news law goes into effect on Thursday.

According to the bill, recycling companies have 60 days from then to submit a background check in order to be registered with the state.

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