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Local recycling businesses surviving changes to law

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Updated: 12/11/2013 6:27 pm
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Piles of copper and aluminum wire were once easy targets for thieves.

Now they are regulated by the city of Jacksonville. But local businesses said those regulations cost them.

"The toughest steps were actually purchasing thousands of dollars of new equipment," said Berman Brother Incorporated owner Eric Berman.

He said the 2011 ordinance has had a real impact on his business.

Scrappers have to prove to Berman and other companies that the metal they are selling is not stolen.

Berman had to buy new computers and software to keep track of what and who came into his business.

The ordinance also affected honest people.

"There are a lot of metals that some customers had to leave alone because they didn't or couldn't perhaps get proof of ownership,” said Berman.

Action News asked the city for a copy of the ordinance to see exactly what they meant by proof of ownership. The law says it’s a signed letter from a company proving they are an authorized agent to dispose of company property.

"They have to have a bill of sale from a contractor, for example, or the owner of the item," said Berman.

Council members met recently to discuss how the ordinance has affected local recycling companies, and to see if any changes need to be made.

Berman said he saw business drop slightly because of this, but one thing that did improve, the relationship between recycling companies and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

"Anything that we can do to help them prevent getting into that type of situation is going to help both parties," said Jacksonville Sheriff's Office spokesman Shannon Hartley.

Berman said eventually his business got back to normal after more people became familiar with the ordinance.

Here is a list of the metals that require proof of purchase:

A manhole cover
An electric light pole or other utility structure
A guard rail
A street sign or traffic sign or signal
Copper or aluminum service wire
A funeral marker or vase
A historical marker
Railroad equipment
A metal item with government initials or a logo
A copper or aluminum condensing coil
An aluminum or stainless steel bottle that holds propane
Steel beer kegs
A catalytic converter

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Realchange - 12/11/2013 11:04 PM
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Seems to me that they want kill recycling business. If theft is going on just require all people who sell scrape provide a valid "real" ID as required by our government. Then if thefts are continuing just line up items sold to recyclers with the people selling it and track it down. PROOF of ownership is bad idea. Often people are selling recycled materials because they are desperate for cash. Some are thieves but most are not. Keep pushing poor people hard with this kind law and laws against begging. That leaves them no choice but to resort to real hard crime. Get job statement don't typically work for all people. If person has even a minor arrest record they are usually considered unfit for any job that might support them or their families. I wish some the politicians we have had to live on minimum wage for 5 months before they took office, or better yet force them to live in low income apartments on social security for 5 months. If they survive that then let them hold office. Bet some these gestapo ordinances would disappear then.
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