a man standing on a heap of scrap metals
The scrap metal recycling industry in the United Kingdom is worth more than £5 billion. After the country stopped producing a significant amount of new metal goods in the 1980s, recycling became a vital component of the nation’s economy.

In 2013, new legislation revised the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 1964 to regulate the industry better and protect consumers. Since then, scrap metal sellers can no longer deal with cash buyers, especially dealers without a valid licence. Also, sellers are also subject to meticulous record keeping.

If you want to turn your metal rubbish into gold, it is imperative to understand what the law is all about before trading. Here are the most important things you need to learn:

Key Benefits

The main reason for the significant changes to the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 1964 is to curb metal theft. The British Metals Recycling Association regularly publishes stolen metal items for public consumption, highlighting the lingering pervasiveness of theft throughout the nation. Many cases involve non-ferrous metals, such as aluminium and copper, which are less common and highly valuable.

The demand for such metals is strong enough to convince individuals to risk their lives to get their hands on these hot commodities. Even if no accidents occur, metal theft is rarely a victimless crime. The government and private organisations usually have to suffer one way or another. This is especially true when the metals are useful for infrastructure and utilities.

Furthermore, the new law helps ensure the scrap metal is disposed of and recycled properly. Licensed dealers observe effective and safe methods to handle unwanted metal goods. Without any tangible proof of the scrap metal and money change hands, the authorities will find it more challenging to catch unscrupulous parties.

Unpermitted Alternatives

man supervising scrap metal yard

While the trade of scrap metal through cash is banned, the law does not allow the use of other payment methods too. Foreign currencies, virtual currencies, electronic vouchers, gift cards and postal orders are the cash alternatives you cannot accept to sell your goods. Such payment methods allow all parties to remain anonymous.

In England and Wales, dealers and sellers can trade through crossed cheques, prepaid cards and electronic transfers of funds. In Scotland, only electronic fund transfers and crossed cheques can be used as alternatives to cash.

Few Exceptions

The law allows certain buyers to pay cash for scrap metal. Collectors can be exempted from the general record-keeping requirements. They must be registered and secure a separate order under sections one and three of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act of 1964, respectively. Fraudulent buyers cannot pretend to be itinerant collectors easily because local authorities consult Chief Officer of the local police force before issuing an order.

Many sellers prefer cash, but the existence of stricter regulations is for the good of law-abiding people. You ought to prepare the requirements to trade and exercise your due diligence to deal with a reliable dealer. If you encounter any cash buyer, anonymously file a report to be part of the crusade against theft and improper scrap metal disposal.