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Disposal & Recycling of Mercury-Containing Thermostats

Thermostats are commonly found in most homes and are also used for commercial applications as a means of regulating room temperature. The photo at the right shows common thermostats and the glass ampoule under the cover which contains the mercury. Mercury-containing thermostats should not be disposed of in the regular trash.

Recycling Your Old Mercury-Containing Thermostats

In 2008, mercury thermostat collection legislation was passed requiring thermostat manufactures to establish collection programs for contractor and consumer-generated mercury thermostats and providing a financial incentive of $5.00 for turning in a mercury thermostat for recycling.

How can you participate in the program? Bring your mercury-containing thermostat to any of the locations listed below and receive either an in-store credit (at retail locations) or a coupon that can be mailed in to receive $5.00 reimbursement check - it's that simple. (Note: No other mercury-containing products are accepted as a part of this program.)

Each registered program locations offers a $5.00 incentive for turning in a mercury-containing thermostat:

  • Retail locations that sell thermostats will be collecting thermostats in their stores and offering a coupon toward $5.00 off the purchase of anything in the store.
  • Wholesale locations that sell primarily to contractors and commercial customers will be providing a coupon that the contractor can mail back to the manufacturer for a $5.00 rebate that will be returned directly to the customer in the form of a check.
  • Municipal locations can collect mercury-containing thermostats and customers will be given a rebate coupon that can be mailed to the manufacturer to receive a $5.00 reimbursement check.

If you have any questions relating to this program, please contact 800-974-9559.

The following is a list of "Registered Collection Points" across the state where mercury-containing thermostats can be dropped off for recycling and financial rebates:

Identifying Thermostats Containing Mercury

To determine if your thermostat contains a mercury switch, remove the front cover. Once the cover is removed you should be able to locate one or more glass ampoules (switches) that contain a silver liquid (mercury). The photograph above shows the glass ampoule which contains mercury.

Alternatives to Mercury-Containing Thermostats

Electronic thermostats, which are mercury-free, are available. The best alternative is to use what are called programmable thermostats. These thermostats can be programmed to keep the temperature of a house a certain level depending on the time of day and the season. Programmable thermostats are encouraged for energy savings.


Mercury Education & Reduction Campaign    103 South Main Street    Waterbury, VT 05671    802-241-3455
MERC is a program of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

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