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Hazardous Waste Warning works best in modern browsers like Firefox, Safari, Chrome, or Internet Explorer 8. All are free to download and will greatly improve your internet experience. Wastes in this section are dangerous to you and the environment. Handle them carefully and dispose of them properly. Legally, households may not transport more than 15 gallons of wet or 125 pounds of dry hazardous materials. Read about the regulation.

Mercury Containing Devices

You'd probably expect to find mercury in an old thermometer, but what about those early 1990s "light-up" sneakers that you've held on to just in case you need them for a Halloween costume one day? Now prohibited in the U.S., manufacturers used to make such products with mercury-containing light switches.

Buyer Beware

Some countries still permit the use of mercury in novelty items like toys and jewelry, so be cautious when buying such products. Among other risks, exposure to mercury can harm the pulmonary and central nervous systems, especially in young children.

Go Digital

When replacing an old mercury thermostat or buying a new thermometer, digital is the way to go. These newer products forego the use of mercury altogether.

Thermostat Recycling Corporation

In 2008, California passed a law requiring thermostat manufacturers to create collection programs for mercury-containing thermostats generated through contractor and consumer use (a great example of product stewardship!). The legislation also required HVAC wholesale distributors with facilities in California to serve as collection points for these same mercury thermostats.

As a result, the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) was formed to oversee the safe collection and proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats, not only in California but in other states with similar legislation. TRC has distributed over 3,400 collection containers nationwide. Their website (linked above) provides a list of locations across the US that accept thermostats.

Please note that thermostats accepted under this program must be intact, without the casing removed.

Mercury-Containing Light Bulbs

Please visit our Fluorescent Light Tube or Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) pages for more information about the proper disposal of mercury-containing lights.

More Information

Consumers use other products that contain mercury, not just thermometers and thermostats. In the event that any of these products break, there are certain steps that need to be taken for safe clean-up and disposal. In addition to providing information on the do's and dont's of fluorescent light and mercury thermometer breaks, the US Environmental Protection Agency has a website that provides information on storing, transporting, and disposing of mercury.

Where to go

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