Onondaga County Residents Invited to Bring Old Mercury Thermometers and Thermostats to August 3 Collection Event

Covanta and OCRRA host free event to protect the environment; Covanta offers $10 Lowe’s gift card incentive

Syracuse, N.Y., Jul. 24, 2019 –  Help protect human health and the environment by bringing old mercury thermometers and thermostats to a drop off event on Sat., Aug. 3, 8 am – 11 am at Environmental Products and Services (532 State Fair Blvd, Syracuse).

This free event is open to households in Onondaga County. Check out these two short videos for details on what is acceptable and how to prepare for the event: Dispose of mercury thermometers and thermostats

“Safely get rid of old mercury-containing thermometers and thermostats at this drop-off event,” said Dereth Glance, OCRRA executive director. “Mercury harms people and wildlife and needs to be properly disposed. Do your part for the environment and human health by removing toxic mercury from your home.”

Mercury is commonly found in old thermometers and thermostats. When exposed to air mercury escapes into the environment exposing humans to potential nervous system damage. Mercury is a heavy metal that bio-accumulates up the food chain impacting wildlife as well as people.

Mercury containing thermometers have silver, grey or black filling in their tubes. Thermometers with any other color filling do not contain mercury and should be thrown out. Mercury containing thermostats have levers or dials that must be physically moved to change temperature, as well as glass tubes filled with a silver substance behind the faceplate. Newer programmable thermostats do not contain mercury and can be discarded normally.

Dispose of mercury thermometers and thermostats on Saturday, August 3 from 8:00 am to 11:00 am at Environmental Products and Services in Syracuse. Check out these short videos for details: www.tinyurl.com/Therms2019

Covanta will provide replacement digital thermometers for each mercury thermometer brought in, and $10 gift cards for each resident that brings mercury thermostats or thermometers to the event. Only one gift card per resident drop-off will be offered, regardless of the number of mercury items turned in at the event. A gift card is not issued for non-mercury containing items.

“Covanta is excited to reward the outstanding efforts of Onondaga County residents who turn in mercury containing devices,” said Kathleen Carroll, Covanta Onondaga clientwaste solutions manager. “Removing mercury from the environment protects our children and wildlife, so we are happy to continue our partnership with OCRRA on this important effort. Since 2014, more than 6,220 grams of mercury have been removed from the environment through this partnership. This is the equivalent amount of mercury found in more than 1.5 million compact fluorescent bulbs.”   To encourage participation, the Thermostat Recycling Corporation, the entity that manages the collected mercury thermostats, will buy 500 lbs. of carbon off-sets for every mercury thermostat returned. This will not only cover the environmental costs of driving a car to the event, but will also cover above and beyond to make sure the event recovers more carbon than it uses.

To help attendees move quickly through the event, those dropping off mercury thermometers or thermostats must complete a short form beforehand and place it on their dash the day of the event. The form can be downloaded at www.OCRRA.org

No other mercury-containing items, broken / leaking thermometers or thermostats, nor other hazardous materials will be accepted at the event. To make a no-cost household toxics disposal appointment to get rid of those items safely, visit www.tinyurl.com/OCRRAtoxics for details.

Year-Round Disposal Options: Residents unable to attend the event have year-round disposal options for mercury thermometers and thermostats. They may be dropped off at OCRRA’s Ley Creek Transfer Station, year-round Monday-Friday, 6:30 AM to 1:30 PM; Saturdays, 8:00 AM to 11:30 AM. (5158 Ley Creek Dr., Liverpool, NY 13088.) Residents will receive a $5 Lowe’s gift card in the mail, courtesy of Covanta.