Frequently Asked Questions
What do I do if metal has been stolen from me?
Immediately file a report with law enforcement and ISRI's Scrap Theft Alert system at www.scraptheftalert.com. Also, refer to the Prevention page on this site on how to avoid and combat future thefts.
What do I do if I witnessed metal theft from someone else?
Immediately contact the victim if known. You may also contact law enforcement, but they may not open a case with anyone but the victim unless the theft involves public utility type material. If you witness a public utility theft, immediately contact law enforcement and report the theft on ISRI's Scrap Theft Alert system at www.scraptheftalert.com.
How do I report suspicious activity if a theft has not yet occured?
Report the suspicious activity to law enforcement and on ISRI's Scrap Theft Alert system at www.scraptheftalert.com.
How big of a problem is metal theft?
As a percentage of all metal recycled, stolen material only represents a very small fraction (less than .0001%), but as a threat to communities, public utilities, infrastructure, and businesses, metal theft is a big problem and a serious threat. Please refer to the Prevention page on this site to help lower the threat.
Why is metal a commonly stolen item?
Metal has a value as recyclable material and presents easy targets for thieves. Please refer to the Prevention page on this site for tips on how to help prevent and combat metal theft.
Why is metal recycled?
Metal is recycled for use as raw materials in new production to replace the mining and depletion of scarce virgin ores. Metal has a value because it is a scarce resource, commodity, and raw material for new production. An overwhelming majority (over 60%) of all new metal is made from recycled metal. Metal is also recycled to reduce enormous amounts of solid waste going to landfills (over 125 million tons per year).
Why do metal metal recycling facilities pay for metal?
Modern manufacturing depends on recycled metal for new production and relies on the metal recycling industry to supply that metal. The only way for recyclers to procure enough metal to supply manufacturers is to pay a fair market price for that metal to prevent the metal from being thrown away.
What guidelines and laws do metal recycling facilities have to follow when buying scrap metal?
In most states including Colorado and New Mexico, metal recycling facilities must record a valid, government issued, photo ID and the delivery vehicle information of any person selling certain types of scrap metal. Further, metal recycling facilities must maintain and hold such records for an extended period of time. Metal recycling facilities in Colorado must also photograph retail scrap metal purchases and any person receiving over $300 in cash for scrap metal.
What does recycling do for the environment?
Recycling conserves enormous amounts of natural resources, energy, and pollution throughout mining and manufacturing processes. Recycling also greatly reduces the amount of solid waste going to landfills and helps keep our cities, towns, and countrysides cleaner, richer, purer, and more beautiful.
What does recycling do for the economy?
The recycling industry employs over 100,000 people in the U.S. with truly green jobs. The recycling industry also generates over $50 billion per year in revenue in the U.S. while greatly contributing to the global economy and the balance of trade with leading export volumes of scrap out of the U.S.
What are benefits of recycling?
Recycling reduces solid waste going to landfills, conserves energy and resources, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, cleans up cities, towns, and countrysides, sustainably supports and supplies modern manufacturing, and creates economic value through jobs, revenues, and global trade.
What are the drawbacks of recycling?
Recycling facilities can be generally loud and dirty environments and potential outlets for thieves, but the benefits of recycling far outweigh the few drawbacks.
What would happen without recycling?
Without recycling, we would quickly deplete natural resources for future generations and fill up landfills. Cities, towns, and countrysides would become cluttered with ugly, obsolete scrap. Pollution and energy consumption would drastically increase. Our cost of living would also dramatically increase. From the cans of soda that we drink to the cars that we drive, any newly manufactured product would cost more for manufacturers and consumers without recycling.
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