Frequently asked questions: Scrap metal businesses

The Washington State Legislature has not yet approved state operating and capital budgets for the 2017–19 biennium, which begins July 1. If the Legislature does not approve budgets by June 30, several state agencies will go through full or partial operations shutdowns. To find out what services will be effected, see Possible suspension of services starting July 1.

Will I need a license to collect and sell empty aluminum cans?
You won’t need any of the scrap metal licenses with the Department of Licensing, but you may need a business license with the Department of Revenue. We recommend you contact the Business Licensing Service at the Department of Revenue to find out if you need one.

Can I buy non-vehicle scrap metal if I already have a vehicle wrecker, hulk hauler, or salvage processor license?
No, those licenses allow you to acquire metal as part of a vehicle. A scrap metal processor, recycler, or supplier license is a needed to buy non-vehicle scrap metal.

Will I need to have more than 1 license if I recycle and process scrap metal?
No, the licenses are tiered:

  • A processor can act as a processor, recycler, or supplier.
  • A recycler can act as recycler or supplier.
  • A supplier can act only as a supplier.

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