New Group Foils Metal Theft

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scrap metal theft

A new entity is joining the fight against scrap metal theft in North Carolina’s rural counties.

Recycling Association of NC, established during the summer of 2012, now counts more than 50 members in the industry, according to its president, Travis Ward. Their goal is to combat metal theft through legislative action and working with the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association, the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police, Duke Energy Progress, Farm Bureau and other groups.

“While knowing that we can’t fully stop it,” Ward says, “we want to do everything we can by working with these organizations to severely limit it and slow it down.”

Ward works with his family’s Regional Materials Recovery Inc. “Our business has been in existence for over 80 years, and this problem has been in existence for over 80 years,” he says.

Ward notes that the North Carolina General Assembly has passed four pieces of legislation since 2007 that aid efforts to slow down metal theft, but more clarification is needed to create an equal playing field for the industry.

“While legislation was what brought us together, we realized the bigger need was to change the stereotype of our industry,” Ward says. “Lots of people have a negative view of our industry aiding and abetting criminals. We want them to know that we are legitimate businesses that care and are concerned about this metal theft issue.”

The industry’s national association hosts a free website, scraptheftalert.com, that helps law enforcement track metal theft.

“If all law enforcement would use it, it would make a positive impact,” Ward says.

He encourages anyone with questions to contact him at ncrecyclingassociation.org, (252) 443-1521, or tward@rmrnc.com.

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