Mercury Thermometers and Thermostats

Mismanaged mercury can be toxic and under certain circumstances can have detrimental effects on the nervous system as well as the environment. Removing mercury thermometers and thermostats from the trash or the sanitary sewers is of considerable benefit to the environment.

How can you tell if your thermometer or thermostat contains mercury?

Thermometer_2by1_KRL_041608  MercuryThermostat
Mercury thermometers have SILVER, METALLIC GREY or BLACK filling in their bulbs. Any other color filling indicates it is a non-mercury thermometer and it may be thrown in the trash at the end of its life. Mercury thermostats have dials or levers that you need to manually adjust. If you take their faceplate off and see one or more sealed glass capsules containing a silver substance, you have a mercury thermostat.

If you have mercury thermometers or thermostats you can bring them to OCRRA’s Ley Creek Drop-Off Site, year-round and receive a $5 Lowe's gift card as a reward*.

As an added bonus for keeping harmful mercury objects from the waste stream, Onondaga County residents will receive a mercury-free thermometer in the mail.

When you arrive, you will:

  • Give your (unbroken) thermometer or thermostat to the attendant.
  • Fill out a card with your name and address
  • OCRRA will mail you a new mercury-free thermometer and gift card - courtesy of Covanta!

The thermometer exchange program is made possible through a partnership between OCRRA and Covanta, the operator of the local Waste-to-Energy Facility. A portion of the program cost is also underwritten by a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

Find a list of other locations that accept mercury THERMOSTATS in the community.

If you have a broken thermometer or other mercury containing device, follow these steps:

  1. Place all parts in an airtight container and seal it.
  2. Make an appointment for OCRRA’s Household Hazardous Waste Drop Off Program.
  3. Maximize your appointment by bringing other household toxics to your appointment drop off too.

* One gift card per resident drop-off, regardless of number of items turned in.



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