How to dispose of your old license plates depends on the laws of the state from which the plates were issued. For example, while Maryland law requires plates be returned to the state Department of Motor Vehicles, many other states, such as Virginia, do not.
Some states, such as Washington, offer several ways for people to dispose of old standard license plates. One of these methods is to mail a plate to its Department of Licensing. Another method is to remove the month and year registration tabs from the plate and then bend it in half before recycling it at a facility that accepts old metal. The state's main purpose in requiring people to remove tags is to prevent the plates from being used illegally.
However, Washington State requires people with commercial vehicle plates, personalized plates, disabled parking plates, collector vehicle plates, veterans plates, commemorative Pearl Harbor plates and many other specialized plates to return them to a vehicle licensing office in person or by mail.
New York State mandates that those who are moving out of state and taking their vehicles surrender their plates. State law allows the plates to be dropped off at any New York DMV office.