The in basket: Shirley Morgan wonders what she should do with
her old license plates when she is required to replace them, as we
all are about every seven years.
The out basket: I asked Brad Benfield of Department of Licensing if my first-blush notion that cutting up the plates and recycling them with metal is the best idea. He replied:
“You have a couple of options for disposing of them. The
first option is putting them in your recycling or trash (depending on
your local solid waste disposal requirements). DOL recommends cutting
them in half if you choose to do this.
“Old plates also can be dropped off at your neighborhood vehicle license
office. This is a good option for anyone who doesn’t have the ability to
cut their plate in half,” he said.
“Of course, there are other, more creative solutions for old license
plates. Sometimes they wind up in the hands of license plate collectors or
others who hang them as decorations. Others have used them to build
birdhouses or as the covers for notebooks. I also occasionally receive
requests for old plates from Hollywood prop houses who want to use them
in television shows or movies,” he said.
On the subject of plates, my e-mail recently brought a warning that gas thieves have taken to stealing good plates and putting them on their own cars so the plate’s owner gets the blame when the thief drives off without paying for gas. Check frequently to make sure your plates are on your car and report their theft immediately if not, said the e-mail.
Snopes.com, the urban legend buster, says that’s good advice, though disguising a stolen car or armed robbery get-away car would be a more likely motive for the theft of plates than gas drive-offs. The growing practice of most stations of requiring payment for gas in advance by credit card or otherwise makes plate thefts for purpose of stealing gas “not really information that needs to be spread to everyone’s nearest and dearest at the speed of light,” said Snopes.