How To Dispose Of Old License Plates Illinois?

In Illinois, disposing of old license plates properly is important to ensure compliance with state laws and regulations. Whether you’ve recently replaced your plates, moved out of state, or no longer need them for any reason, there are specific steps you should follow to dispose of them safely and responsibly. 

This guide will walk you through the process of disposing of old license plates in Illinois, covering the legal requirements, recycling options, and alternative methods for disposal.

Understanding Illinois License Plate Laws

Before you dispose of your old license plates in Illinois, it’s essential to understand the state’s laws and regulations regarding plate disposal. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

Plate Surrender Requirement

Illinois law requires that you surrender your license plates to the Secretary of State’s office if you no longer need them. This applies whether you’re moving out of state, selling your vehicle, or simply replacing your plates.

Timely Surrender

You must surrender your license plates promptly after they are no longer needed. Failure to do so may result in penalties or fines.


There are certain exceptions to the plate surrender requirement, such as transferring plates to a new vehicle or retaining personalized plates. However, these exceptions are limited, and it’s crucial to check with the Secretary of State’s office for specific guidance.

Surrendering License Plates in Illinois

Surrendering License Plates in Illinois

Once you’re ready to dispose of your old license plates in Illinois, you can follow these steps to surrender them properly:

Remove Plates

First, remove the license plates from your vehicle. Use a screwdriver or wrench to unfasten the screws holding the plates in place.

Clean Plates

Before surrendering your plates, it’s a good idea to clean them to remove any dirt or debris. This will make them easier to handle and recycle.

Visit Secretary of State’s Office

Take your old license plates to your nearest Secretary of State’s office. You can find a list of office locations on the Illinois Secretary of State website.

Surrender Plates

When you visit the office, inform the staff that you need to surrender your license plates. You might also inquire, ‘How Many Montana License Plates Are There?‘ They will provide you with instructions on how to complete the surrender process.

Obtain Receipt

After surrendering your plates, make sure to obtain a receipt or confirmation from the Secretary of State’s office. This documentation serves as proof that you’ve complied with the plate surrender requirement.

Recycling Options for Old License Plates

In addition to surrendering your license plates to the Secretary of State’s office, you may also have the option to recycle them. Recycling old license plates helps reduce waste and promotes environmental sustainability. Here are some recycling options to consider:

Local Recycling Centers

Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept old license plates for recycling. Some centers may have specific drop-off locations or procedures for recycling metal materials like license plates.

Scrap Metal Facilities

Scrap metal facilities often accept old license plates for recycling. Contact local scrap yards or metal recycling facilities to inquire about their acceptance policies and any requirements for dropping off plates.

Mail-In Recycling Programs

Mail-In Recycling Programs

Some organizations offer mail-in recycling programs for old license plates. You can mail your plates to the designated address, and they will be recycled according to environmental standards.

Alternative Methods for License Plate Disposal

Craft ProjectsRepurpose plates for DIY decor or artistic projects.
CollectorsExplore markets for vintage or specialty plates.
Local ArtisansConnect with artists who incorporate plates into art.
DonationConsider donating plates to schools or nonprofits.
Upcycling ProgramsSeek out programs that repurpose materials sustainably.

Consider these alternative methods to give your old license plates new life while contributing to creative reuse and sustainability efforts.


Can I throw away my old license plates in the trash?

Yes, but it’s not the most environmentally friendly option. Consider recycling or repurposing them instead.

Can I recycle my old license plates with my regular household recycling?

It depends on your local recycling program. Check with your recycling center to see if they accept metal materials like license plates.

What should I do if my old license plates are damaged or unusable?

You can still surrender them to the Secretary of State’s office for proper disposal.


Disposing of old license plates in Illinois is a straightforward process that involves surrendering them to the Secretary of State’s office and exploring recycling options. 

By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can ensure that your old plates are disposed of properly and in compliance with state laws. 

Considering alternative methods for plate disposal, such as recycling or repurposing, can contribute to environmental sustainability and creative reuse. 

Remember to always prioritize safety and legality when disposing of license plates, and don’t hesitate to reach out to local authorities or recycling facilities for assistance.

Leave a Comment