Frequently Asked Questions


I have had metals stolen from my property. What should I do?

As quickly as you can, report the theft to the NZ Police. They will give you a file reference number. Then, report the theft to us, including your police file number, via our stolen metals reporting page We’ll get the word out to recyclers in your region so if your items are presented for sale, they can intercept them. Any identifying information you can provide is extremely helpful. This may include markings, photographs (of the actual items or items that are similar), or serial numbers to help with identification.

It’s also very important that you report thefts promptly. Items may be presented for sale within hours of them being taken.

How are metal recyclers regulated?

Metal recyclers must be licensed under the Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act 2004. To ensure you are dealing with a reputable business, we recommend that you ask to see a copy of the dealer’s licence if it is not already displayed at the operator’s premises. This is particularly important when dealing with a mobile operator who collects materials directly from sellers.

Are all metal recyclers members of the Association?

No. Membership in the Association is voluntary and serves as an added assurance of professionalism.  A company wishing to become a member must submit an application that is supported by a peer in the industry who represents a member company.  Our peer nomination process ensures that only companies with a reputable trading history in New Zealand are admitted to the Association.

I sold metal to an operator and had to produce my driver’s licence as identification. Is this a breach of privacy?

The Secondhand Dealers and Pawnbrokers Act requires a dealer to keep a record of all purchases which includes the seller’s full name, address, contact telephone number and date of birth and to verify the seller’s identity. It is common practice to ask sellers to produce their driver’s license for this purpose.

How will I be paid?

Each member company has its own payment policy.  Most will pay either in cash or direct bank credit, depending on the size of the sale. 

When market prices are low, the recycler may not be in a position to pay for your metals but they will accept them for recycling.  In those circumstances, the company will let you know if they are able to purchase your metals.


What’s the difference between an auto dismantler and a metal recycler?

An auto dismantler will buy a vehicle so it can be disassembled and the parts harvested for re-sale. Any leftover metal is then usually sold to a recycler. Metal recyclers, on the other hand, will purchase a vehicle simply for the metal value alone and do not salvage parts for re-sale. Typically, a car is worth more for its parts than for its recycling value.

I had something stolen but I don't want to involve the NZ Police. I want to know the name of the person who sold my item for recycling. Will you do this?

No. Under the provisions of the Privacy Act, recyclers are not able to disclose the personal details of a seller to anyone. The NZ Police have enforcement powers that enable them to ask for identification from recyclers to investigate thefts and to lay charges, where appropriate. Our Association works collaboratively with the NZ Police to help reduce metal theft. We want all victims of metal theft to file reports with the NZ Police to ensure investigations can be undertaken.

2020 NZ Association of Metal Recyclers

making metal matter.


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