Expanding mercury thermostat recycling
Improper disposal of old thermostats represents a significant source of mercury pollution in Wisconsin. Most old thermostats are full of mercury and without strong programs that allow us to get rid of them safely, our old thermostats often find their way into landfills, where the mercury leaks into the ground and seeps into our water supplies.
While manufacturers have voluntarily established small thermostat recycling initiatives, these programs are simply inadequate to keep up with our current rate of disposal. As a result, only a small percentage of mercury thermostats have been properly disposed of under these types of policies.
To protect our families and waterways from this poisonous problem, Clean Wisconsin pushes for legislation mandating a robust, manufacturer-led program that would make proper thermostat disposal convenient and accessible. In 2009, we shepherded into law a similar manufacturer-sponsored program for electronic waste, and the model has proven to be a huge success for Wisconsinites. While the Legislature failed to take action on such a bill in 2013-2014 session, Clean Wisconsin will continue to advocate for the expansion of thermostat recycling to ensure we preserve the integrity of Wisconsin’s precious waters.