Mercury Thermostat Recycling Program

Participation in this program is very simple and free. As a program participant, you will be provided the materials to properly store, ship and promote the recycling of mercury thermostats all, at no cost to you.

What is the thermostat recycling program?

Through generous funding from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality's Community Pollution Prevention and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Michigan Energy Options is implementing a mercury thermostat recycling program in Michigan. The program's objective is to increase the number of collection sites across the State of Michigan, making it easier for citizens to properly recycle mercury and keep it out of our landfills.

When upgrading to a programmable thermostat, the proper disposal of the old thermostat is often problematic. Presently, there are 180 collection sites in Michigan where mercury thermostats can be properly disposed with no cost to residents. With the help of this grant, we are looking to increase that number to 300 sites across Michigan.


Where can I find a Thermostat Recycling Site?


Why can't I just throw away my old thermostat?

Many old thermostats contain mercury switches, which according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment contain approximately 3 grams of mercury per thermostat. In the United States improper disposal of mercury thermostats results in about 8% of the mercury released into the environment, equaling 9.6 tons or mercury.

In its elemental form, mercury exposure can cause symptoms such as tremors, insomnia, weakness, muscle atrophy, and migraine headaches. When released into the environment, this elemental mercury can be transformed into a much more dangerous form called methyl mercury. Methyl mercury exposure is extremely harmful to fetuses, infants and children and has been linked to birth defects as well as impaired brain and nervous system development (source U.S. EPA).

How does collection work?

Once you have decided to become a collection site, you will be outfitted with a recycling container. The container is a reusable plastic bin that holds up to 100 thermostats. Bins are clearly marked, includes program guidelines, a plastic liner, twist ties and pre-paid universal waste shipping label for return shipment. Once bin is full, return to the TRC and you will be provided another container.

How can you and your organization help?

To increase the number of recycling sites, we need organizations like yours to consider becoming a mercury thermostat recycling site. The program that Michigan Energy Options is running will cover the cost of the recycling bin. By participating in the program, your organization will help keep mercury out of landfills, incinerators and the environment.

Registration for new recycling sites has begun and will be ongoing through September 2013.

We expect that you may have some questions before you register your site. For more information and to become involved in the program please contact Michael Larson 906.226.1136, or use the contact form below. Thank you for taking the time to consider this opportunity to help the environment and those who live in it.

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