Iowa 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)
Materials Covered and Other Definitions

"Scrap Metal" means any metal suitable for reprocessing. “Scrap metal” does not include a motor vehicle, but does include a catalytic converter detached from a motor vehicle.

"Scrap Metal Dealer" means any person operating a business at a fixed or mobile location that is engaged in buying, selling, procuring, collecting, gathering, soliciting, or dealing in scrap metal, or operating, managing, or maintaining a scrap metal yard.

"Scrap Metal Yard" means any yard, plot, space, enclosure, building, mobile facility, or other place where scrap metal is collected, gathered together, stored, or kept for shipment, sale, or transfer.



Transactions are exempt if:

  • The total sale price is $50 or less, except transactions for catalytic converters, which are exempt if the total sale price is $75 or less;
  • A Scrap Metal Dealer is selling the Scrap Metal; or
  • The Seller is known to the Dealer to be the officer, employee, or agent of an established commercial or industrial business, operating from a fixed location, that may be reasonably expected to produce scrap metal during business operations

A Dealer shall not make an initial purchase of Scrap Metal without recording the Seller's name, address, and place of business; the Seller must also present a valid governmentissued photo ID. For subsequent purchases a Dealer need only record the Seller's name and place of business if they retain the information from the initial transaction.


Records and information must be retained for at least 2 years.


Records shall be provided upon request during normal business hours to a law enforcement agency or other officer or employee designated by a county or city to enforce the law, when said person has reasonable grounds to request such information as part of an investigation. The inspecting party must preserve the information confidentiality and not disclose it except as may be necessary in enforcement or prosecution of a criminal.

Payment Restrictions

Non-exempt scrap metal transactions must be paid by check or electronic transfer.


A Seller who fails to provide the required information or a person who conducts a transaction by or on behalf of a Dealer who violates the law is subject to:

  • 1st offense: $100 civil penalty;
  • 2nd offense within 2 years: $500 civil penalty;
  • 3rd or subsequent offense within 2 years: $1,000 civil penalty.

These provisions shall take precedence over and supersede any local ordinance adopted by a political subdivision that regulates scrap metal transactions, except a city ordinance in effect prior to January 1, 2012, in a city with a population exceeding 150,000 as shown by the 2010 federal census may continue to be enforced by the city that adopted it.


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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.