Bridgeport Businesses to Recycle Mercury Thermostats

The city of Bridgeport, Conn., and local businesses kicked off efforts to remove mercury from the waste stream by collecting mercury thermostats. The goal is to collect more than 500 mercury thermostats in the Bridgeport area this heating season. Residents who remove thermostats themselves can participate by bringing them to the Bridgeport Transfer Station or to Santa Fuel.

"This effort is directly in line with the city's B Green 2020 sustainability initiative to protect natural resources through recycling," said Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch. "I commend the heating and cooling businesses that have stepped up to partner with the city to remove harmful mercury products from the waste stream."

Mercury is a toxic metal that contaminates fish and the environment. While mercury thermostats are no longer sold in Connecticut, their long lifespan means many are still in use in Bridgeport area homes and businesses. Each mercury thermostat contains an average of 4 grams of mercury, more than 1,000 times the amount contained in a compact fluorescent light bulb.

The project has the support of the trade associations whose members service heating and cooling systems, as well as wholesalers that sell replacement thermostats. Nine businesses, including New England Heating Supply, M& O Corp., and Environmental Control, are hosting mercury thermostats collection bins.

The project is run by the Product Stewardship Institute, a national organization working to reduce the environmental and health impacts of consumer products. It has the support of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, and the Bridgeport Department of Public Facilities. PSI has selected Bridgeport for this national pilot program to demonstrate how best to boost collections of out-of-service thermostats that contain mercury.