Metal recyclers abide by a series of regulations

These two vehicles represent the input and output of an intricate metal recycling operation.

Top: A truck brings discarded cars into Sims facility for shredding. Bottom: Truck delivers auto shredder waste to landfill.

Metal recyclers in California export more than seven million tons of metal annually. The two metal shredders currently operating in the Bay Area — Sims in Redwood City and its competitor, Schnitzer Steel in Oakland — contribute around 600,000 tons a year.

While metal recyclers provide benefits to society by conserving resources and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the toxic nature of the materials being handled poses a dilemma for the industry and its regulators. When not contained properly, metals such as lead, mercury, copper, zinc and cadmium can have serious health effects for people and wildlife. The industry’s method of managing the risks associated with these metals is under close scrutiny today.

There are more than four different agencies responsible for ensuring that metal recyclers abide by a series of regulations in the Bay Area, including the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Toxic Substances Control, San Francisco Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.

Despite the number of organizations which oversee the industry, problems with regulation abound. In the past two years, regulators have collectively fined Sims millions of dollars for violating various state and federal laws at its Redwood City plant. The records behind these fines describe years or even decades of violations and illustrate a broader story about the difficulty of regulating the metal shredding industry.

This year, a new law spearheaded by state Sen. Jerry Hill (D-San Mateo) may push more stringent regulation for parts of the metal shredding process, though some environmental advocates question how effective the law will be.

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Junk Car Removal Surrey

Did you know that we have been helping clean up the environment for over 20 years?

All of the scrap vehicles we tow away get recycled and reused in other applications.


Scrap Car and Truck Removal
19355-55th Avenue
Surrey, British Columbia