Recycled Metals: Overview
NOTICE: All secondhand metal dealers are required to report all sales not later than the second business day after the date of purchase, through the new Recycled Metals Reporting System. If you are not able to log into the website, please contact the program administrator (505) 490-2973. A link and user manual for the Recycled Metals Reporting System can be found below:
Recycled Metal Dealer Compliance Training
The sale of certain recycled metals, which are purchased by secondhand metal dealers, are regulated through the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (RLD). The types of metals regulated include aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, and steel. Certain transactions are restricted and must meet statutory requirements to occur, these include utility access covers, water meter covers, road or bridge guard rails, highway or street signs, traffic directional or control signs or signals, and catalytic converters. It is illegal to buy any stolen metal.
The Regulation and Licensing Department works closely with state and federal law enforcement agencies, in order to ensure that all secondhand metal dealers are not buying or selling stolen materials, and are fully compliant with all reporting requirements. The purchase of stolen materials may result in criminal, civil and administrative penalties. Please report any suspected criminal activity to your local police department or sheriff’s office.
As of July 1, 2012, changes to the Sale of Recycled Metals Act §57-30-1 through 57-30-14 NMSA 1978 went into effect requiring:
Secondhand Metal Dealers to be registered with the Regulation and Licensing Department; prescribing duties for Secondhand Metal Dealers; providing for the suspension or revocation or registration; reducing the waiting period for resale of regulated material; allowing holds in certain circumstances; reducing the time for preservation of records; expanding the scope of regulated material; requiring uploads to an electronic database; requiring additional documentation of certain transactions; amending and enacting sections of the Sale of Recycled Metals Act.
If you have specific questions, or need information that has not been provided on the website, please contact:
For the forms and information, please click specific link below:
Secondhand Metal Dealer's Registration Application
To apply or update your existing application, please fill out this form electronically, review the document for accuracy, then save the completed application to your computer and print a copy for submission. For new applications and renewals, attach a check or money order in the amount of twenty-five dollars ($25.00), payable to the “Recycled Metals Program”. Send or deliver this application to: Recycled Metals Program Regulation and Licensing Department 5500 San Antonio Dr. NE Albuquerque, NM 87109. For information updates, complete the form as above but exclude the fee.
Secondhand Metal Dealer's Purchase Record
This form addresses the information required by the Department and may be used by the Recycled Metals Dealer or they may use a form generated by their record keeping system that contains all the same information and requires a seller signature. This record is to be kept at the dealer’s place of business for at least one year from the date of purchase and shall be immediately available upon request from a peace officer.
Restricted Materials Documentation
This form is for use when restricted material is purchased, including but not limited to, catalytic converters, street signs, utility company items, and stripped copper wire. See section 57-30-2.4. You need to fill out this document in addition to the purchase record. This record is to be kept at the dealer’s place of business for at least one year and shall be immediately available upon request from a peace officer.
Registered Dealer Listing
Please view the Recycled Metals Dealer Listing here
Recycled Metals: FAQs
Q: Who is allowed to purchase or sell regulated recycled metals in New Mexico?
- The Sale of Recycled Metals Act allows only registered Secondhand Metal Dealers who are in compliance with federal and state legal requirements to purchase or sell regulated recycled metals in New Mexico.
- A Secondhand Metal Dealer must have a valid registration issued by the Department of Regulation and Licensing in order to buy or sell regulated scrap metals in New Mexico. First, you must obtain a Storm Water Permit from the New Mexico Environment Department. (See below).
Q: Who qualifies as a Secondhand Metal Dealer in New Mexico?
- A Secondhand Metal Dealer is a scrap metal processor in the business of operating or maintaining a scrap metal yard in which scrap metal or cast-off regulated material is purchased for shipment, sale or transfer.
- As a Secondhand Metal Dealer—whether you are registered or not—you are subject to the jurisdiction of the Sale of Recycled Metals Act (“the Act”), which you can find at the RLD website or at New Mexico Public Access Law. At the Public Access Law site, look for “Sale of Recycled Metals Act” or statutes 57-30-1 through 57-30-14, and Regulations 220.127.116.11 through 18.104.22.168.
- Applications for registration as a Secondhand Metal Dealer are accepted from an owner or owners of the business.
If you are unregistered and operating, you are subject to prosecution under the Uniform Licensing Act, § 3.2.
Q: What materials are considered REGULATED MATERIALS in New Mexico?
- Aluminum – a product made from aluminum, an aluminum alloy or an aluminum byproduct. Includes an aluminum beer keg but does not include aluminum food or beverage cans.
- Bronze – a cemetery vase, receptacle or memorial made from bronze; bronze statuary; or material identifiable as bronze.
- Copper or Brass – insulated or non-insulated copper wire, hardware or cable of the type used by a public utility, commercial mobile radio service carrier or common carrier consisting of at least 25% copper; or a copper or brass item of a type commonly used in construction or by a public utility, commercial mobile radio service or common carrier.
- Lead – a lead-acid battery; or material made of or containing lead.
- Steel – a product made that is alloy or iron, chromium, nickel or manganese. Includes stainless beer kegs.
- Restricted Materials – Restricted materials are a special category of regulated materials.
- The law requires you to have the seller sign a SEPARATE DOCUMENT, referred to as “additional documentation” that they are the true owner of the item, or have authority to sell it. See next.
Q: What metals are considered RESTRICTED materials in New Mexico? (NMSA 57-30-2.4(A)(1) to (A)(10))
- Infrastructure grade regulated material that has been burned to remove insulation, unless the seller can produce written proof that the regulated material was lawfully burned;
- Regulated material where the manufacturer’s make, model, serial or personal identification number or other identifying marks engraved or etched upon the material have been conspicuously removed or altered;
- Regulated material marked with the name, initials or otherwise identified as the property of an electrical company, a telephone company, a cable company, a water company or other utility company, a railroad or a governmental entity;
- Utility access cover;
- Water meter cover;
- Road or bridge guard rail;
- Highway or street sign;
- Traffic directional or control sign or signal;
- Metal beer keg that is clearly marked as being the property of the beer manufacturer; and
- Catalytic converter that is not part of an entire motor vehicle.
Q: How do I obtain a Storm Water Permit?
- The New Mexico Environment Department issues Storm Water Permits.
- To begin the process of obtaining a permit, contact the New Mexico Environment Department at http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/swqb/StormWater/index.html.
Q: Where can I find the Application, and what is required?
- First, you must have a Storm Water Permit as required by law. Applications will not be approved without a valid Storm Water Permit tracking number from the New Mexico Environment Department.
- Go to http://www.rld.state.nm.us/overview.aspx, download and print (yes, print) ALL pages of the Secondhand Metal Dealer’s Registration Application. The application form is located near the bottom of the Overview and Forms section.
- Print one-sided and fill out completely. Hand-write your initials in the boxes on page 2. Print your name, and sign.
- You are signing under penalty of perjury.
- You are agreeing to comply with the law and to ensure that your workers comply with the law.
- Mail in with a check made out to “Recycled Metals Program, RLD” in the amount of $25. With your valid Storm Water Permit tracking number, your application will be processed very quickly.
Q: What do I do when I am purchasing regulated material?
- Identify: Ask for ID, in most cases a driver’s license. You may also accept military ID or a passport, but these do not contain addresses. The law requires you to obtain an address, so you will need the Seller to also present a current utility bill or other evidence of current address. NO OTHER FORM OF IDENTIFICATION IS ACCEPTABLE.
- You must also collect identification information on the vehicle used to transport the regulated material, including make, model, and license plate number.
- You must also visually verify both the driver’s license AND the vehicle identification information.
- DO NOT RELY ON DRIVER’S LICENSE INFORMATION STORED IN YOUR SYSTEM.
- DO NOT TAKE THE SELLER’S “WORD” FOR ANY REQUIRED VEHICLE INFORMATION.
- You must collect and maintain a full written record of the purchase.
- Fill out completely the Purchase Record as provided by the Department. Do not use a form that is not approved by the Department. Get this form by going to http://www.rld.state.nm.us/overview.aspx and clicking on “Secondhand Metal Dealer’s Purchase Record”.
- Scan (or copy) the driver’s license on to the Purchase Record in the space provided.
- Obtain the license plate number of the Seller’s vehicle, and other required descriptive information regarding the vehicle, and make sure to visually verify all personal and vehicle ID information.
- NOTE – To avoid violations of Section 4(B) of the Act:
- You may not rely on the Seller’s verbal information as to ID and vehicle. You must verify. LOOK at the license plate; LOOK at the age and ID picture on the driver’s license (or other ID).
- You may not enter the ID information into your database and then fail to verify it for each and every purchase made from a seller.
- Record the type of material and quantity. Restricted material requires additional documentation of ownership. (See above.)
- The Seller must sign the Purchase Record acknowledging that he or she is authorized to sell the material. However, the law requires the dealer to provide the place and date of the transaction to be included near the top of the form. In other words, you may not rely on the Seller for this information; YOU OR YOUR EMPLOYEE MUST PROVIDE THE PLACE AND DATE of the purchase on the form in a separate location near the top of the form.
- You must keep these records on site for one year and make them available upon request to the compliance officer or a peace officer.
- Report: You must “upload” the information collected in the Purchase Record to the Department’s database. See http://www.rld.state.nm.us/overview.aspx. (Recycled Metals Reporting System, User Manual, Spreadsheet).
- Hold: You must observe a 24-hour waiting period before disposing of, processing, or removing regulated material.
Q: How often do I have to upload transaction data?
- No later than the second business day following the purchase. For example, if you BUY on Monday, UPLOAD by Wednesday.
Q: What is a “Scrap Theft Alert”?
- It is an alert system in which victims of a regulated metal theft, or law enforcement agencies, submit information of the date, location, type of metal stolen and suspect information.
- A Secondhand Metal Dealer is required to register and monitor Scrap Theft Alert, and to ensure that employees do the same. If stolen metal is on Scrap Theft Alert, then you are on notice that it is stolen. (See next.)
Go to http://www.scraptheftalert.com to sign up.
Q: Can I get in trouble for buying metals that may be stolen?
- Yes. You must take care to prevent stolen material from being purchased. If you know that regulated material is stolen or it can be shown that you should have known (for example, because the material is posted on Scrap Theft Alert), you could both fined under the Sale of Recycled Metals Act at up to $1,000 per item, and you could be prosecuted criminally. It’s not worth it.
- Additionally, if you become aware the material was stolen or unlawfully obtained, you shall not remove the material from your premises and shall report it to a local law enforcement agency or the Department within 24 hours. Failure to do so may result in administrative fines or registration revocation.
Q: How can I protect myself from being administratively, or criminally charged, with accepting fraudulent identification and/or receiving stolen materials?
- Check the seller’s identification card and verify that it is real. Don’t accept an ID you suspect is fraudulent, or a temporary ID. Check the driver’s license and vehicle plate, make and model EVERY time a purchase is made.
- Don’t purchase any material that you suspect may be stolen.
- Check Scrap Theft Alert regularly.
Q: What about sellers? Do they have obligations regarding transactions?
- All Secondhand Metal Dealers are required to post a “WARNING SIGN” in a prominent place, in 2-inch lettering, as follows:
“A PERSON ATTEMPTING TO SELL REGULATED MATERIAL MUST PRESENT SUFFICIENT IDENTIFICATION AS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW. WARNING: STATE LAW PROVIDES A CIVIL FINE FOR A PERSON WHO INTENTIONALLY PROVIDES A FALSE DOCUMENT OF IDENTIFICATION OR OTHER FALSE INFORMATION TO A SECONDHAND METAL DEALER WHILE ATTEMPTING TO SELL REGULATED MATERIAL.”
Q: How do I make sure I will stay out of trouble?
- Make sure you maintain your registration. We do not remind you to renew.
- Stay informed regarding your legal obligations as a Secondhand Metal Dealer. The Recycled Metal Program has a Brochure to help you know and understand your obligations under the law. Ask the Compliance Officer for a copy.
- Follow all purchase, recording, and uploading legal requirements.
- Do not accept fraudulent documents.
- Report suspected stolen material to law enforcement or to the Department within 24 hours.
- Cooperate with law enforcement and the Department’s compliance officer.
Q: Will the Regulation and Licensing Department conduct business inspections?
- Your local law enforcement agency and/or a Compliance Officer from the Regulation and Licensing Department may conduct a compliance check regularly to ensure the business is following the laws.
Q: Where do I find all these laws?
Q: What about the “regulations”?
- Regulations are a collection of rules that supplement the actual law. They have the force of law. The recycled metal regulations are almost identical to the statutes, with a few important differences. For example (but not a complete list), the regulations provide for renewal of your registration, stating that you are required to renew within 30 days of the expiration of your current registration.
Q: What are the penalties for violating the Sale of Recycled Metals Act?
- Up to $1,000 per violation.
- For a list of Disciplinary Actions, please see http://www.rld.state.nm.us/construction/disciplinary-actions.aspx.
If you have additional questions or need clarification on the ones listed here, please email Compliance Officer Ken Freamon at email@example.com.