SYRACUSE, NY — This past month the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency (OCRRA), in partnership with local Waste-to-Energy facility operator Covanta Onondaga and non-profit Thermostat Recycling Coalition (TRC), hosted a collection event for mercury-containing thermostats and thermometers.
Over 240 Onondaga residents responded by dropping-off 395 thermometers and 290 thermostats which cumulatively contain approximately three and a half pounds of mercury, equivalent to the amount of mercury in 310,000 compact fluorescent bulbs. Each resident received a $10 gift card, courtesy of Covanta, in exchange for the collected devices which were recycled by TRC at no-cost.
Today during the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling’s 27th Annual Recycling Conference, TRC Outreach Specialist Piper Mlsna presented OCRRA Recycling Director Andrew Radin with a Carbon Neutral Certificate which recognizes the 66 tons of emissions reduced through the purchase of carbon offsets for OCRRA’s successful October mercury collection event.
“We are very pleased with OCRRA’s efforts as they continue to significantly contribute to New York’s collection numbers each year. Their dedication to the program and the environment shows in their results,” said TRC’s Executive Director Ryan Kiscaden.
Events such as conferences, concerts and festivals can be significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In an effort to reduce the environmental impact from cars being driven to and from the mercury collection event, TRC purchased credits to offset these emissions, supporting a carbon neutral environment.
Covanta, OCRRA and TRC recognize the outstanding efforts and vital roles residents play in the safe and proper removal of mercury from the waste stream.
What items contain mercury?
· Thermometers containing mercury have a silver, metallic grey or black filling in their tubes. If the filling is red, blue, purple, green or any other color, it is not a mercury thermometer and is not eligible for drop off at this event. Unlike mercury thermometers, these can be thrown in the trash.
· Thermostats containing mercury have levers or dials that you must physically move to change the temperature. If you remove the faceplate of your thermostat and see one or more glass ampoules containing a silver substance, it is a mercury thermostat. Do not remove or break the ampoules. If your thermostat is digital / programmable, it is not eligible for drop off; it can go in the trash.
Mercury is a heavy metal that can represent a threat to human health and the environment when disposed of irresponsibly.
Residents can drop-off mercury-containing thermometers and thermostats year-round at OCRRA’s Rock Cut Road Drop-Off Site. For more information, please visit https://ocrra.org/resources/mercury-thermometers-and-thermostats/.
About Thermostat Recycling Corporation
The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) is a non-profit stewardship organization that facilitates and manages the collection and proper disposal of mercury-containing thermostats. Originally founded in 1998 by Honeywell, White-Rodgers and General Electric as a voluntary venture, TRC’s program has been working with Onondaga County since 2011.
Today more than 3,600 businesses and communities in 48 states are enrolled in TRC’s program. Since founding, TRC has collected over 2.1 million mercury-containing thermostats – that’s kept 10 tons of mercury out of the waste stream. OCRRA has contributed 566 thermostats, diverting over 5 pounds of mercury from Onondaga County in just four years.