Please Note: Amendments by 2015 California AB 236, effective January 1, 2016 and exempting licensed pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers from the weighmaster requirements, are included and noted in this summary.
"Junk" means any and all secondhand and used machinery and all ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals and alloys, including any and all secondhand and used furniture, pallets, or other personal property, other than livestock, or parts or portions thereof.
"Scrap metals and alloys" includes, but is not limited to, materials and equipment commonly used in construction, agricultural operations and electrical power generation, railroad equipment, oil well rigs, nonferrous materials, stainless steel, and nickel which are offered for sale to any junk dealer or recycler. Scrap Metal does not include scrap iron, household generated waste, or aluminum beverage containers.
"Nonferrous Material" means copper, copper alloys, stainless steel, or aluminum, but does not include CRV beverage containers;
"Prohibited Material" includes:
"Recycler" means any processor, recycling center, or noncertified recycler who buys or sells Scrap Metal that constitutes Junk.
"Junk Dealer" includes any person engaged in the business of buying, selling and dealing in junk, any person purchasing, gathering, collecting, soliciting or traveling about procuring junk, and any person operating, carrying on, conducting or maintaining a junk yard or place where junk is gathered together and stored or kept for shipment, sale or transfer.
"Core Recycler" means a person or business, including a Recycler or Junk Dealer, that buys used individual catalytic converters, transmissions, or other parts previously removed from a vehicle. A person or business that buys a vehicle that may contain these parts is not a Core Recycler.
Except as otherwise provided, the law does not apply to:
The Payment Restrictions on Nonferrous Materials and CRV Containers do not apply if, during any 3 month period, the Dealer or Recycler completes 5 or more separate transactions per month, on 5 or more separate days per month, with the Seller. To continue to be exempt the Seller must continue to complete 5 or more separate transactions per month with the Dealer or Recycler.
The Payment and Additional Recordkeeping provisions for purchases of Nonferrous Materials do not apply to:
The Payment and Additional Recordkeeping provisions for purchases of CRV Containers do not apply to CRV containers having a value of $100 or less in a single transaction or to jurisdictions that do not offer curbside pickup of materials that include CRV Containers.
The provisions relating to catalytic converters apply to Core Recyclers and do not apply to a subsequent purchaser of a catalytic converter who is not a Core Recycler. Other than as provided in the Recordkeeping - Catalytic Converters provision, the catalytic converter provisions do not apply to a Core Recycler who holds a written agreement with a business or Recycler regarding the transactions. The Payment Restrictions - Catalytic Converters provision exempts transactions where the Core Recycler and the Seller have a written agreement for the transaction.
(added by AB 236) The Weighmaster Licensing provision exempts licensed pawnbrokers and secondhand dealers when the pawnbroker or secondhand dealer weighs property that it acquires and reports the acquisition according to its respective statute.
Junk Dealers and Recyclers are required to keep a written record of all sales and purchases made with the following information; the Office of the Attorney General provides a Record of Junk Sale or Purchase form PDF for download at http://oag.ca.gov/recycle
For purchases, information from one of the following methods of identification:
For purchases, a statement indicating either:
For non-exempt purchases of Nonferrous Materials, a Dealer or Recycler must also record the following before providing payment:
A copy of the method(s) of identification provided above
Unless exempt, payment for a purchase of Nonferrous Materials must be made by either:
These additional requirements do not apply if the Dealer or Recycler has on file or receives on the date of sale the following:
For California Redemption Value (CRV) containers, a Dealer or Recycler must also record the valid address from and make a copy of one of the following before providing payment:
Unless exempt, payment for a purchase of CRV containers must be made by either:
These additional requirements do not apply if the Dealer or Recycler has on file or receives on the date of sale the following:
Dealers or Recyclers may only purchase or receive refillable stainless steel or aluminum alloy beer kegs marked with an indicia of ownership from the indicated owner unless the Seller or Transferor provides one of the following, which the Dealer or Recycler must copy and add to the transaction record:
For purchases of Prohibited Materials, Dealers or Recyclers must obtain written certification on the letterhead of the agency that owned or previously owned the material.
The certification must:
Written records must be retained for at least 2 years "after making the final entry of any purchase or sale". For the Additional Recordkeeping - CRV Containers provision, the Dealer or Recycler must retain either the photograph and address from the specified identification or a copy of the identification.
Other than for materials with special inspection rules outlined below, Dealers and Recyclers shall allow periodic inspection during normal business hours of any junk or scrap metal property and any sale or purchase records by:
Inspection or seizure of a thumbprint shall only be performed by a peace officer acting within the authority of a criminal search warrant signed by a magistrate and served on the junk dealer or recycler by the peace officer. Probable cause for the issuance of that warrant must be based upon a theft specifically involving the transaction for which the thumbprint was given.
Reports shall be transmitted electronically beginning 12 months after the Department of Justice and local law enforcement agencies develop a standard format to be used statewide to transmit the report. Until that time, each secondhand dealer may either continue to report using existing forms and procedures or may begin electronically reporting.
Every Recycler shall report the information required in the Recordkeeping provision to the chief of police or sheriff as provided in Bus. & Prof. Code Section 21628. This shall occur daily, or on the first working day after purchase of the property, on forms or through an electronic reporting system approved or provided by the Department of Justice. The Office of the Attorney General provides a Record of Junk Sale or Purchase form PDF for download at http://oag.ca.gov/recycle
A Dealer or Recycler who unknowingly takes possession of Prohibited Material in a load of nonprohibited materials without the required certification must notify the appropriate law enforcement agency by the end of the next business day after discovering the prohibited material. The report must be by electronic mail, fax, or a letter delivered in person or by certified mail to provide the written confirmation necessary to prevent a Dealer or Recycler being charged with a civil or criminal penalty for possession of the material.
A Core Recycler who accepts a catalytic converter for recycling must maintain a written record with the following:
A Core Recycler accepting a catalytic converter from a licensed auto dismantler or from a Recycler who holds a written agreement with a business that sells catalytic converters for recycling purposes is required to collect only the following for a transaction:
A Core Recycler selling or shipping used catalytic converters to other Recyclers or smelters shall retain the following information from the sale:
Before providing payment, for a catalytic converter, a Core Recycler must also obtain:
A copy of the Seller or Seller's agent's valid driver's license or government-issued identification card containing the Seller's photograph and address.
Payment for catalytic converters must be by check by one of the following:
For an individual, by check:
For a business:
Records must be retained for not less than 2 years
Core Recyclers shall make records available for inspection by local law enforcement upon demand.
90 day hold on property in the possession of a Dealer or Recycler upon receipt of a written notice from a peace officer with probable cause to believe that the property is stolen. The written notice must describe the item(s) to be held and the case number. Property subject to a hold must be produced at all reasonable times and places or may be delivered to any peace officer upon request of any peace officer who is a member of the same agency as the issuing officer. A hold is issued in lieu of an officer seizing the property suspected stolen.
The Dealer or Recycler may not release or dispose of the property during the hold except pursuant to a court order or upon receipt of a written authorization signed by a peace officer who is a member of the same agency as the issuing officer. If the agency has no knowledge of the property on hold being reported as stolen, the property shall be released "in a timely fashion" by a written notice to the Dealer or Recycler. If the agency has knowledge the property has been reported stolen, they shall notify the person of the name and address of the Dealer or Recycler and authorize the property's release to that person;
the agency shall release the hold once 60 days have elapsed after the person is notified. If a person seeks to recover property subject to a hold, the Dealer or Recycler shall advise the person of the name and badge number of the issuing officer and the name of their agency; if the property is not held pursuant to a criminal prosecution the hold shall be released.
Prohibited Material received without a certification and reported to law enforcement must be set aside and not sold pending a determination by the law enforcement agency.
A Junk Dealer or Recycler shall request to receive theft alert notifications regarding the theft of commodity metals, including, but not limited to, ferrous metal, copper, brass, aluminum, nickel, stainless steel, and alloys, in the junk dealer's or recycler's geographic region from the theft alert system maintained by ISRI or its successor.
Under the newly created Cal. Penal Code Part 4, Title 1, Ch. 2, Art. 6, Section 11199.5, local law enforcement are encouraged to report thefts of commodity metals that have occurred within their jurisdiction to the theft alert system to ensure that users receive timely and thorough information regarding metal thefts. ISRI or its successor shall not sell subscribers' information received pursuant to this section to third parties.
In addition to the standard requirements for weighmasters (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Div. 5, Ch. 7, Section 12700-12737), a Junk Dealer or Recycler applying for or renewing a weighmaster's license with the Department of Food and Agriculture must also submit:
The Department will investigate the application within 90 days (or 1 year for a renewal after Jan. 1, 2015). If the information is determined to be inaccurate the Department will send a notice to the Dealer or Recycler. The Dealer or Recycler will have 14 days to provide accurate information or their license will be revoked. A Dealer or Recycler whose license is revoked is entitled to a hearing.
A weighmaster who is or is performing services on behalf of a Dealer or Recycler must pay the standard annual license fees as well as an additional:
These additional requirements will sunset on January 1, 2019 unless removed or extended.
A Dealer or Recycler that violates the Recordkeeping, Retention or Inspection provisions commits a misdemeanor punishable by:
Any unauthorized disclosure of personal information collected from a Seller by a Dealer or Recycler is prohibited and punishable by a civil fine of up to $5,000.
A defendant convicted of theft of property that has been placed on hold shall be ordered to pay the Dealer or Recycler for reasonable costs for storage of the property and pay the victim for both the value of the property stolen and any reasonable collateral damage caused by the theft.
A person who makes a false or fictitious statement regarding information required for catalytic converters or violates requirements for catalytic converters commits a misdemeanor. A knowing and willful violation is punishable by:
Preempts city and/or county ordinances involving Nonferrous Material unless the ordinance is passed by a 2/3rds vote and can be demonstrated by clear and convincing evidence to be both necessary and addressing a unique problem within and specific to the jurisdiction that is not effectively addressed by the state law.
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This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.