Metals recyclers urge MPs to level cash-ban playing field

Metals recyclers across the country are urging ministers to level the playing field for the new cash-trading ban by applying it to itinerant traders as well as licenced yards.

While licenced yards prepare to adopt an entirely cash-free purchasing system from this December, itinerant scrap metal traders continue to be allowed to use cash to buy scrap metal – an inequality that has left many licenced yards reeling.

The ban on cash trading for scrap metal is set to come into full effect from December and has been described by many as the biggest change the scrap metal industry has ever seen. Many scrap yards including Recycling Lives have already begun implementing partially or fully cash-free systems in a bid to acclimatise customers to the change – not an easy move when so many customers are used to the speed and convenience of a quick cash payment.

As the new legislation stands, however, itinerant scrap metals dealers will be exempted from the ban on cash-for-scrap payments. This loophole has given way to fears from licenced scrap metal yards that the scrap metals industry could soon be tipped in favour of unregulated itinerant traders and unscrupulous individuals who pay little or no heed to stringent environmental legislation. Fly-tipping in particular is a major concern.

As the December deadline looms, the British Metals Recycling Association is calling on the Government to back a private members bill put forward by MP Richard Ottaway to include itinerant traders in the cash-for-scrap ban.

Recycling Lives supports the new private members bill as a positive step in levelling the playing field for scrap metals dealers. While the company understands the motivations behind the upcoming cash-ban on scrap metals, particularly as a means of tackling scrap metal theft, the legislation as it stands leaves the scrap metals industry vulnerable to unlicensed and unscrupulous traders with little regard for necessary environmental standards.

An extension of the cash-ban to itinerant traders would not only give licenced scrap metals yards an equal footing in the scrap metal trade, but would also support the large number of legitimate itinerant scrap metal dealers out there and act as a discouragement to unprincipled individuals looking to make a quick buck by collecting household items and fly-tipping anything that is of no value. As the introduction of the new legislation approaches, Recycling Lives will be watching with interest to see whether MPs take heed of these concerns, and are prepared to level the scrap metal trade playing field.