A new California law designed to increase the collection and recycling of waste mercury thermostats went into effect July 1, 2009.  The Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2008 (AB 2347, Ruskin) requires a contractor who installs heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning components and who removes out-of-service mercury thermostats to take them to a collection location for recycling. The California law follows similar legislation in Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Vermont.

Mercury is a toxic metal that in its various forms can accumulate in living tissue and cause adverse health effects. When a mercury thermostat is broken and disposed of in solid waste landfill or incinerator, the mercury can contaminate the air, surface water, and ground water.

Under the new law, manufacturers must collect and recycle waste mercury thermostats at no cost to contractors and homeowners. Additionally, the law requiresevery HVAC wholesaler with a physical location in Californiato act as a collection site for waste mercury thermostats.

The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC)is providing collection containers to HVAC wholesalers for a nominal one-time fee. TRC absorbs all subsequent costs to ship and recycle waste mercury thermostats. 

For more information about the TRC program, contact Executive Director Mark Tibbetts at (703) 841-3246 orMark_Tibbetts@nema.org.

Source: The Thermostat Recycling Corporation