Press Release - May 2001
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TRC Announces Thermostat Mercury Recycling In 48 States

Program available to Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Contractors 

ROSSLYN - The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) has expanded its program to recycle used mercury-switch thermostats to include all 48 states on the mainland United States. Under the program, mercury is removed from the thermostats and recycled. TRC is a private corporation originally established by thermostat manufacturers Honeywell, General Electric, and White-Rodgers.

TRC has been recycling thermostats since January 1998, with operations in eight mid-western states and in Florida. In January 2000, TRC expanded the program to thirteen east coast states. This new action expands the program to the remaining 26 southern and western states on the U.S. mainland. 

Between 1998 and 2000, TRC collected 75,000 thermostats containing 656 pounds of mercury. 

Under this voluntary, industry-sponsored effort, heating and cooling contractors drop off old mercury-switch thermostats - no matter the brand - at participating wholesalers. A list of participating wholesalers can be found at Wholesalers collect the thermostats in protective bins supplied by TRC. When the bins are full, wholesalers send them to TRC's recycling center where the switches are removed and forwarded to a mercury recycler. 

TRC focuses on heating and air-conditioning contractors and wholesalers because they sell and install the majority of thermostats and because the industry already has the infrastructure to support an effective recycling program. Homeowners install only a small percentage of replacement thermostats. Some local governments have separate programs in place to manage recycling or disposal of used thermostats directly from homeowners. For more information about hazardous waste collection, homeowners can contact their local hazardous waste management office. Manufacturers specifically design mercury switch thermostats to protect and steadily hold the mercury bulbs they contain. In normal use, the consumer is never exposed to the mercury. Breakage of the mercury bulb is unlikely because the switch is strong and durable, the metal strip to which the bulb is attached helps absorb shocks, and the bulb is contained in a sturdy plastic or metal thermostat casing.

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