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Back to Scrap Laws Illinois Metal Scrap Statute
Current as of September 14, 2015

The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit http://www.isri.org/metalstheftdb to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws
Overview of Provisions (use the section titles to travel directly to that section)

Please Note: Amendments by 2015 Illinois HB 330, effective January 1, 2016, are included and noted in this summary

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Recyclable Metal" means any copper, brass, or aluminum, or any combination of those metals, purchased by a Dealer, irrespective of form or quantity. Excludes:

  • Items designed to contain, or to be used in preparing, beverages or food for human consumption;
  • Discarded items of non-commercial or household waste;
  • Gold, silver, platinum, and other precious metals used in jewelry; or
  • Vehicles, junk vehicles, vehicle cowls, or essential vehicle parts.

Restricted Recyclable Metal, as used in this summary, refers to the following material as listed in 815 ILCS 325/4.1:

  • Materials that are clearly marked as property belonging to a business or someone else other than the Seller;
  • Property associated with use by governments, utilities, or railroads including, but not limited to, guardrails, manhole covers, electric transmission and distribution equipment, including transformers, grounding straps, wires or poles, historical markers, street signs, traffic signs, sewer grates, or any rail, switch component, spike, angle bar, tie plate, or bolt of the type used in constructing railroad track;
  • Cemetery plaques or ornaments; or
  • Any catalytic converter not attached to a motor vehicle at the time of the transaction unless the seller is licensed as an automotive parts recycler or scrap processor.

Beer Kegs are subject to additional recordkeeping requirements but not defined.

Air conditioner evaporator coils or condensers and copper are subject to payment restrictions but are not defined.

"Recyclable Metal Dealer" means any individual, firm, corporation or partnership engaged in the business of purchasing and reselling Recyclable Metal, whether of a permanent or itinerant nature, including junk shops, junk yards, or junk stores. Excludes automotive parts recyclers, scrap processors, repairers and rebuilders licensed pursuant to 625 ILCS 5/5-301. Recyclable Metal Dealers shall not be engaged in the business of purchasing or reselling vehicles, junk vehicles, vehicle cowls, or essential vehicle parts.


The Recordkeeping and Payment Restrictions provisions do not apply to the following if the Seller provides a bill of sale or other written evidence of title at the time of purchase:

  • Electrical contractors;
  • Agencies or instrumentalities of the State of Illinois or of the United States;
  • Units of local government, their agents or representatives, that have contracted with the Dealer in the disposal of the Seller's metal street signs;
  • Common carriers;
  • Purchases from persons, firms or corporations regularly engaged in the business of manufacturing recyclable metal, selling recyclable metal at retail or wholesale, or razing, demolishing, destroying or removing buildings;
  • Purchases between Recyclable Metal Dealers; or
  • Purchases from Sellers engaged in the generation, transmission or distribution of electric energy or engaged in telephone, telegraph and other communications.

A Dealer must electronically record the following for each purchase of Recyclable Metal:

  • The name and address of the Dealer;
  • The date and place of each purchase;
  • The Seller's name and address, verified by a valid government-issued photo ID;
  • A copy of the Seller's valid government-issued photo ID;
  • The license number and state of issue of the delivery vehicle;
  • A description of the metal, including the weight and whether it consists of bars, cable, ingots, rods, tubing, wire, wire scraps, clamps, connectors, "other appurtenances" (accessories or forms), or a combination of such;
  • Photo, video, or both, of the Seller and of the materials as presented on the scale;
  • The Seller's signed and dated declaration that: "I, the undersigned, affirm under penalty of law that the property that is subject to this transaction is not to the best of my knowledge stolen property."
Restricted Recyclable Metal - Additional Recordkeeping

A Dealer may only purchase Restricted Recyclable Metal if the Dealer also records a copy of the Seller's written documentation reasonably demonstrating that the Seller is the owner or is authorized to sell on the owner's behalf.

Beer Kegs - Additional Recordkeeping

A Dealer only purchase a metal beer keg from the beer manufacturer whose identity is displayed on the beer keg or their authorized representative. Whether or not the indicia of ownership is obliterated, unreadable, or missing, the Dealer must also create a proof of ownership record with the following information, verified by the Seller's governmentissued photo ID:

  • The name, address, telephone number, and signature of the Seller or the Seller's authorized representative;
  • The name and address of the buyer, or consignee if not sold;
  • A description of the beer keg, including its capacity and any indicia of ownership or other distinguishing marks on the exterior surface;
  • The date of the transaction.

Records must be retained for 3 years after the transaction date; except that:

  • Photos need only be retained for 3 months;
  • Video recordings need only be for 1 month; and
  • A beer keg's proof of ownership record need only be retained for 1 year from the date of purchase or delivery of the keg, whichever is later.

The electronic recordkeeping system must be available for inspection at any time by:

  • Any law enforcement official; or

The representatives of common carriers and persons, firms, corporations, or municipal corporations engaged in:

  • generation, transmission, or distribution of electric energy or
  • telephone, telegraph, or other communications.

A Dealer who suspects property it possesses to be lost or stolen must immediately notify the local law enforcement agency with jurisdiction and report the Seller's information

Payment Restrictions

$100 cash threshold for

  • Air conditioner evaporator coils or condensers; or
  • Any copper, including copper tubing or wiring.

Payment for such materials with a value exceeding $100 must be by check or money order, payable to the Seller, or to the Seller's company if sold by a business.


Any Dealer or other person who knowingly fails to comply is guilty of the following, with each day constituting a separate offense:

  • 1st offense: Class A misdemeanor;
  • 2nd or subsequent: Class 4 felony.

The Illinois Attorney General or State's Attorney for the county where a Dealer is located may initiate an action in the Dealer's county circuit court to prevent the unlawful operation of a Dealer, or to restrain, correct, or abate a violation, or to prevent any illegal act or conduct by the Dealer.

Under 720 ILCS 5/36-1. Seizure, any vessel, vehicle, or aircraft used with the knowledge and consent of the owner in the commission of, or attempt to commit, theft of precious metal or of scrap metal may be seized and delivered to the county sheriff. Within 15 days the sheriff must give notice of seizure by certified mail to each person whose right, title or interest is of record in a state or federal agency, and notify the State's Attorney of the seizure.

Recyclable Metal Theft Task Force (added by SB 330)

The Recyclable Metal Theft Task Force, under the Office of the Secretary of State, will establish a collaborative effort to combat metal theft, assist in developing regional task forces, and consider and develop long term legislative and enforcement solutions. Each year the Task Force will review the effectiveness of its efforts in deterring and investigating the problem of metal theft and in assisting in prosecution, and report its findings and recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor by October 31 of each year.

The Task Force shall consist of:

  • 2 members of the Illinois Senate;
  • 2 members of the Illinois House;
  • 1 member representing the Office of the Secretary of State;
  • 2 members representing the Department of State Police;

The following appointed by the chairperson of the Task Force as selected by the previously listed members:

  • 1 member representing municipalities;
  • 5 chiefs of police from various geographical areas;
  • 1 representative of a public utility headquartered in Illinois;
  • 1 representative of recyclable metal dealers in Illinois;
  • 1 representative of scrap metal suppliers in Illinois;
  • 1 representative of insurance companies offering homeowners insurance; and
  • 1 representative of rural electric cooperatives in Illinois.
No Preemption

The law does not apply in municipalities with populations of at least 1 million.

The law does not apply to any municipality that provides for the registration of Recyclable Metal by a resolution, ordinance, or regulation that substantially complies with the law or any corresponding rule or regulation except the Penalty provisions. Such a municipality must receive a certificate of exemption from the State Police and keep it available for inspection in the office of the municipal clerk.


©2016. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.