Where to Recycle Your Old Thermostats

Day 312 – Many of us are always looking for ways to reduce our heating costs. One way to do that is to invest in a programable thermostat. By doing this you can control the heat in your home all day. This allows you to lower temperatures when no one is home or at night when everyone is comfy cozy in bed. When replacing those old thermostats, you need to make sure you are disposing of them responsibly.

Many older thermostats contain mercury switches.

The mercury is contained in sealed bulbs, so is quite safe during normal operation, but if that mercury is released through breakage, most likely during disposal, then it has the potential to contribute to environmental contamination and the ongoing disaster of mercury poisoning. The use of mercury in thermostats dropped significantly after California banned their sale in 2006. However, these products have a long lifespan and a large number are still in use today.” – Ecocycle

Chicago Household Hazardous Waste Facility ( 1150 N. North Branch Street) accepts mercury thermostats for proper disposal. There are hours are Tuesdays 7 am – 12 pm, Thursdays 2 pm – 7 pm and the first Saturday of every month 8 am – 3 pm.

How do you know if your old thermostat is a mercury thermostat?

“Here are a couple ways to quickly determine whether your home’s thermostat contains mercury. The first is simply to look at it. Mercury thermostats are manual thermostats, usually rectangular or circular in shape. So if your thermostat has a digital screen and curved edges, it probably isn’t a mercury thermostat. If you can’t tell just by looking at the thermostat whether it contains mercury, take the face off of it and look at its innards. If you see a little glass ampule full of silvery liquid, it’s a mercury thermostat. (That little ampule contains up to 12 grams of elemental mercury, making it the single largest source of mercury in your home.)” – Hydes

If your municipality does not recycle mercury thermostats, then check for the closest location by using the following website:

Thermostat Recycling Corporation

It’s everyone’s responsibility to dispose of harmful materials in a responsible manner. We can’t keep passing the responsibility on to someone else.

Tomorrow, eco-friendly windshield wiper fluid.

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