Could you please send out to the CRRA listserves? This is a Sierra
Club priority Bill.
March 3, 2008
Bill Would Give Consumers
Recycle Old Mercury Thermostats
Californians have no idea how to recycle old mercury-containing thermostats,
even though state law bans mercury waste from being thrown in the trash. New
legislation introduced by Assemblymember Ira Ruskin with the support of Sierra
Club California and the California Product Stewardship Council would give
consumers free and convenient options for recycling their waste thermostats in
an environmentally-responsible manner.
The Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2008, Assembly Bill 2347, would allow Californians
to return their waste thermostats to any location that sells new thermostats. Companies that make
new thermostats for sale in the state would pick up most of the costs for the recycling program.
Director of Sierra Club California,
hailed the legislation: “Most people want to do the right thing when it’s time
to get rid of hazardous household products. Assemblymember Ruskin’s bill would
finally provide free and convenient options for recycling mercury
local governments have had to pay for hazardous product waste management for
too long,” added Heidi
Director of the California Product Stewardship Council. “AB 2347 establishes a
model policy for extended producer responsibility that requires the companies
that profit from products to pay for end-of-life disposition. These programs are commonplace in
and other industrialized countries”
is a serious threat to public health from mercury, and it is time for the
companies who have profited from selling these products to take responsibility
for their disposal. Mercury pollution has already contaminated the
waters of the San
and Bay Area watersheds, and high levels of mercury make many of the fish that
swim in these polluted waters unsafe for human consumption. My bill will
greatly reduce the amount of mercury from thermostats that is allowed to
pollute our environment,” Assemblymember Ruskin said.
thermostats should be kept out of our air and water because on average they
contain over 3,000 milligrams of the toxin (for purposes of comparison,
fluorescent light bulbs contain around 5 milligrams). It is estimated that only 5 percent of
mercury thermostats are properly managed. The
and delta, Tomales
and eight other county water bodies currently have fish consumption advisories
due to mercury contamination.
Sales of new mercury thermostats have been banned in
since 2006. Waste thermostats are classified as hazardous waste but are
usually discarded into the solid waste stream, as recycling options are
inconvenient and poorly publicized at present.