You need a government issued photo ID to recycle stuff

  I suspect this is a violation of the 5th because the state is forcing you to inciminate your self.


Want to recycle? Bring your ID
JJ Hensley
The Arizona Republic
Sept. 1, 2007 07:01 AM

If you're bringing any cans or copper to a recycling center, be prepared to show some ID.

If you want more than $25 for your scrap metal, you'll need a clean fingerprint, too.

A series of new laws designed to curb scrap-metal thieves went into effect at midnight Sept. 1, ushering in a new era in Arizona recycling, which leaves recycling operators bracing for the inevitable blowback.

The laws require all recyclers to have a state-issued driver's license or ID, tribal ID or military ID; and require anyone bringing more than $25 of scrap metal and limits customers to one cash transaction per day.

While the rules sound onerous, Matt Hinson, president of Arizona Environmental Recycling, said they could have been worse.

"The original draft of this bill was that no one could get paid cash for recycling. We would have to cut everyone a check and mail it seven days after the fact," said Hinson, whose company has locations throughout the Valley, including a center in Mesa. "That would have killed our business."

Employees at Arizona Environmental Recycling locations have been alerting customers to the change in the laws and implementing the plan for the last month, but Friday morning at the Mesa center, many customers who hadn't brought scrap metal by in the last month were caught off guard.

One man at the center, who refused to give his name because bringing in recyclables violates his union agreement, said the new law was an invasion of his privacy, and that real criminals- those who steal copper wire- would just avoid doing business there.

"They'll go to L.A.," he said.

Hinson is more concerned that thieves can find willing partners at other, fly-by-night scrap yards scattered on side streets and back alleys throughout the Valley, where the owners might not be as interested in cooperating with police or upholding the new law.

Failure to comply with the law is a class one misdemeanor.

"One thing we asked for (from the Legislature) was more appropriations for law enforcement to enforce this, but once you ask for money, you know how that goes," Hinson said. "We think law enforcement needs more resources because there are places that open on the weekends and close during the week and most of the detectives are working."

Many in the recycling industry also point to construction sites and other copper-theft targets that aren't as secure as they could be.

But not everyone at the scrap yard Friday morning thought the new law was too intrusive.

"They're trying to steal light posts now," Mesa resident Vic Hinzelman said of some notorious copper thieves. "Anything to make people safer, I'm all for it."

Hinson knows plenty of other customers won't share that sentiment.

He's bracing for a backlash, particularly from customers who have to wait a week to get a check for items valued at $300 or more.

And Joe Carter, who manages the company's Mesa facility, said requiring recyclers to have state-issued drivers licenses or IDs could have a 10-to-20 percent impact on business there, and for a center that sees between 130 and 160 customers on an average day, that can start to add up.

"It's going to affect our business," Carter said. "We just don't know how much."

But if the new law can help law enforcement curb copper thefts- which did an estimated $10 million in damage to Pinal County properties last year- Carter's all for it.

"The law really doesn't put much more of a burden on us than it already has," Carter said. "I think it will make our jobs easier."