Colorado Metal Scrap Statute

The State Metals Theft Laws summaries are not intended to provide or be relied as a legal advice. This material is provided to serve as a reasonable compilation of the most current state scrap laws and is intended to be a resource or supplement to, and provide ideas for, compliance with all applicable laws. The ISRI State Scrap Laws are subject to change and readers should visit to make certain they are reading the most recent version of ISRI's summaries of the State Metals Theft Laws
Overview of Provisions (use the section titles to travel directly to that section)

Please Note: Amendments by 2016 Colorado HB 1182, effective April 12, 2016, are included and noted in this summary.

Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Commodity Metal" means copper; a copper alloy, including bronze or brass; or aluminum. Commodity Metal does not include precious metals such as gold, silver, or platinum. Additionally, recyclable food and beverage containers (but not metal beer kegs) are exempt from the recordkeeping requirements. (HB 1182 removes references to "stainless steel, or magnesium or another metal traded on the commodity markets that sells for fifty cents per pound or greater")

"Dealer" means any person, business, or entity that buys, sells, or distributes, for the purpose of recycling, any Commodity Metal on a wholesale basis.


Exempts a person or entity that does not provide remuneration for commodity metals collected in drop-off curbside containers or at materials recovery sites.

The Recordkeeping provision does not apply to:

  • Any materials purchased from a regulated public utility or an original manufacturer of scrap or of industrially generated scrap;
  • The purchase of recyclable food and beverage containers from any source (a metal beer keg suitable for reuse is not a recyclable beverage container), or
  • Any scrap involved in a transaction between dealers or governmental entities

Dealers are required to keep a book or register (a written or electronic record of transactions, including sequentially numbered receipts containing the information required) detailing all transactions involving commodity metals with the following information:

"Record the identification of a seller" and the method by which the Seller verified his or her identity. The Seller must verify their identity with one of the following:

  • A valid Colorado driver’s license;
  • A Colorado identification card issued by the Department of Revenue;
  • A valid driver’s license from another state with a picture identification;
  • A military identification card;
  • A valid United States passport; or
  • An alien registration card.
  • A signed statement that the Seller is the owner or is otherwise entitled to sell, sworn and affirmed under penalty of law.
  • License plate number and description of the delivery vehicle.
  • Date and place of each purchase.
  • Description and quantity of the metal purchased.

Digital photos or videos identifying the Seller and the commodity metal sold.

  • For purchases over $300, a Dealer must either take picture of the Seller when the money is paid or pay the Seller by check.

Records must be retained for 3 years after the date of purchase, except photo and/or video records must be retained for 180 days. Scrap Theft Alerts must be downloaded and retained for 90 days. Documentation that employees were provided with and trained in the use of scrap theft alerts must also be retained for an unspecified period.


The book or register containing the records and any photos or videos must be made available to any peace officer for inspection at any reasonable time.

Registration - ISRI Scrap Theft Alert System

A purchaser of metals must sign up with the scrap theft alert system maintained by ISRI or its successor and receive, download, and maintain for 90 days copies of any theft alerts generated. The purchaser must use the alerts to identify potentially stolen commodity metals and train their employees to use the alerts during their daily operations. The purchaser must also maintain documentation that their employees were provided scrap theft alerts and educated in how to use them.

Law enforcement authorities are encouraged to join the system and report thefts of commodity metals occurring within their jurisdictions. Commercial stakeholders affected by commodity metals theft are encouraged to sign up for and participate in the system. (HB 1182 makes minor amendments to the law enforcement language).

Payment Restrictions

Cash is allowed for purchases under $300. For purchases over $300, a check is required unless a picture of the Seller is taken when the money is paid.


Violations of the law or knowingly giving false information are:

  • A Class 2 misdemeanor if the value of the metal involved is less than $500; or
  • A Class 1 misdemeanor if the value is $500 or more.
Task Force

A 10 person commodity metals task force made of representatives from the police, construction, recycling trade associations, scrap metal dealers, local governments, public utilities, and railroads shall meet at least once a year to discuss issues related to theft of commodity metals. The task force is specifically directed to consider how to track or apprehend stolen metals prior to the point of sale; when and how a purchaser should be required to report possibly stolen metals to law enforcement; and penalties for egregious and repeat violators. The task force shall report annually to the House and Senate Judiciaries and is repealed effective September 1, 2025. (HB 1182 changes sunset from July 1, 2016)

©2016. The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. All rights reserved.

This summary of State Metals Theft Laws is being viewed on this website under license and is owned and copyrighted by Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. ("ISRI"),1615 L Street, N.W., Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036.