Scrap Trap

Recyclers get a new tool to combat scrap theft.

Scrap recyclers and local law enforcement are recognizing that they need to work together to curb the theft of recyclables.

The Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) has launched a Web site,, that allows recyclers and local law enforcement to work together to combat materials theft. According to ISRI, the new Web site is easier to use and much faster than the previous fax-based system.

"Many recyclers are still struggling with the grassroots problem of metal theft," says Mike Bianculli, director of operations for Ocala Recycling, Ocala, Fla. "[The problem] has a lot more to do with establishing a dialogue with local law enforcement, which isn't addressed by programs on a [large] scale." Bianculli has been an ISRI member for more than 20 years and serves on the institute's metal-theft task force.

The Web site is free for law enforcement and recyclers to use to report thefts, and the system immediately e-mails reports to all registered contacts within approximately 250 miles of a theft location. "The [previous fax-based] system worked well early on, but we noticed two major drawbacks that needed to be addressed," said Chuck Carr, vice president of member services for ISRI, in a press release, "First, using a [nationwide distribution] system was not an efficient means of distributing reports, and second, the volume of reports requiring action by ISRI staff was significantly slowing down the alerts."

Once registered, recyclers and law enforcement can post alerts immediately without delays due to reviews by ISRI staff. Alerts can include as many as four photographs. Professionals who were already registered to receive fax alerts from the previous system are automatically registered with the new system.

TAGS: Metals