Information Bulletin Number 0705031

First Nationwide Mercury Thermostat Collection Program For Homeowners

The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) and the Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. (PSI) today announced the nation-wide rollout of a mercury thermostat recycling program via local household hazardous waste (HHW) collection facilities. This program expands a successful 8-month pilot project in which 50 municipal HHW facilities in 5 states safely recycled mercury thermostats from residents and their heating and cooling contractors free of charge.

"Homeowners have historically had limited or inconvenient options to recycle their mercury thermostats outside of using a contractor," said PSI Executive Director Scott Cassel. "This program provides residents with a safe way to recycle, and could save communities hundreds of thousands of dollars in mercury thermostat management costs."

To take advantage of the national program, homeowners can contact their local, municipal household waste management authorities for information on recycling locations. Consumers can also visit the Earth 911 website by clicking on the following link, and search via city or zip code for the closest HHW facility in their area:

Mercury pollution is a problem across the nation, with many rivers and lakes subject to mercury fish advisories. People can get exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish. One of the many sources of mercury deposition in the environment can be mercury-containing products. These products can lead to contamination when thrown in the trash, where they might be crushed, incinerated, or otherwise mismanaged in a way to cause airborne releases, after which mercury falls back to earth in rainwater.

Recycling mercury-containing products is an effective way to address this problem, which is why thermostat manufacturers established the Thermostat Recycling Corporation in 1998. TRC has collected more than 530,000 mercury-containing thermostats since its inception, representing nearly 4,900 pounds of mercury.