May 01, 2023

ISRI’s Catalytic Converter Theft Working Group Has Identified Three Potential Legislative Solutions to Deter Catalytic Converter Theft

The Washington-based Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is advocating for Congress and state legislatures to pass stronger laws to help curb catalytic converter theft while supporting the legal recycling of these devices.

More than 30 million catalytic converters are legally recycled every year, primarily through recycling end-of-life automobiles. ISRI says it worked with law enforcement and other key stakeholder groups to identify potential legislative solutions that could deter catalytic converter thefts, including the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the International Association of Crime Analysts and various state associations of chiefs of police.

ISRI says it is calling on Congress and state lawmakers to develop a national registry and regional identification systems for catalytic converters to deter catalytic converter theft. The association suggests functioning catalytic converters be marked and tracked in respective state and national registries; ISRI says this would involve marking the devices with an identifying number in a permanent manner at the time of initial vehicle sale. ISRI adds that it would work with states that already have registry requirements in place to tie them into a national registry if it’s established.


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In addition, ISRI says it advocates for restrictions on possession of detached catalytic converters or catalytic converter substrates to entities that should reasonably be in possession through their normal course of business or individuals who can provide proof of legitimate ownership. ISRI says, “This would provide law enforcement information necessary to identify entities that would be allowed to legitimately purchase detached catalytic converters.”

ISRI also has recommended that Congress and state lawmakers require recordkeeping for all purchases of detached catalytic converters at every level of purchase. ISRI says records should be required for both individual and business-to-business transactions, including date of sale, entities involved in the sale and volume of converters sold.

“The recycled materials industry has a history of working with law enforcement and local authorities to help combat metals theft, including catalytic converters,” ISRI President Robin Wiener says. “We are urging lawmakers—at both federal and state levels—to consider taking action to help reduce these crimes which are impacting consumers and recycling facilities where thefts are becoming all too frequent. In states where similar legislative principles have been put in effect, we have seen positive results.”

ISRI says these policy recommendations came from member volunteers working in its Catalytic Converter Theft Working Group that was established in 2020. The working group brings together metal recyclers from around the country to share information on catalytic converter crimes and law enforcement efforts in different jurisdictions and provide training sessions for law enforcement.

Steve Levetan, executive vice president of Atlanta-based Pull-A-Part LLC and chairman of the working group, says the Catalytic Converter Theft Working Group has two objectives, “First, metal recyclers wanted to stop these crimes which are impacting not just consumers but also recycled metals companies falling victim to these thieves," he said. "Second, we wanted to leverage the industry expertise to craft solutions that have been proven to bring real results to stopping this type of crime. We owe it to our communities to take action, and that’s exactly what we are doing in state after state.”

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