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Thermostat Recycling in Nebraska Derry Stover Office of Environmental Health Hazards & Indoor Air October 2011.

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Presentation on theme: "Thermostat Recycling in Nebraska Derry Stover Office of Environmental Health Hazards & Indoor Air October 2011."— Presentation transcript:

1 Thermostat Recycling in Nebraska Derry Stover Office of Environmental Health Hazards & Indoor Air October 2011

2 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Overview of Mercury Why we use elemental mercury (Hg)? –Unique properties: Liquid weight & density Low vapor pressure & known pressure sensitivity Electric conductivity 2

3 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Spills and Releases Why do we want to recycle mercury? –Environmental Effects Chemically reactive with environment; can form methylmercury and other mercuric compounds Mercury is cycled between soil, atmosphere, and surface water Contaminates water systems and harms wildlife (toxic to living organisms) 3

4 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Spills and Releases –Health Effects Elemental mercury is potent neurotoxin Enters the body –Skin, Ingestion, Inhalation* High doses over short time –Kidney effects, respiratory failure, and death Low doses over long-time –Muscles tremors, neurological damage, headaches, changes in mood Mercury vapors under blacklight after thermometer was spilled 4

5 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Mercury Thermostats 2-3 million thermostats come out of service each year (EPA Mercury Study Report to Congress, 1997) –Most contain mercury Average Hg thermostat = 4 grams –Where does this end up? Mercury thermostats being phased out, state bans, state recycling requirements –No bans or thermostat –specific recycling requirements in Nebraska 5

6 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Thermostat Recycling Corporation Program Overview –Take-back program founded in 1998 by Honeywell and other thermostat manufacturers –Collection containers intended for HVAC/P wholesalers HVAC/P contractors, HHW facilities, and HVAC retailers also eligible to obtain TRC container –Initial fee is $25 to obtain container, no costs after 6

7 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Thermostat Recycling Corporation How it Works Or….. –Rural HVAC contractors & contracting businesses with ≥7 technicians can obtain own TRC container Directly ship to TRC –General public Can take thermostats to TRC locations 7 HVAC contractor removes Hg thermostat from building Contractor places thermostats (w/ outer casing) in TRC container at wholesaler Wholesaler ships thermostats as universal waste to processing facility when bucket full

8 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Thermostat Recycling in Nebraska Nebraska DHHS –EPA grant from –Paid $25 fee –TRC promotion/outreach Doubled # of thermostats recycled during grant years compared to previous 2 years Participants in Nebraska include: –20 HVAC wholesalers –40 HVAC contractors –1 HHW facility –15 HVAC contractors report taking thermostats to wholesalers 8

9 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health How to Sign-up For organizations/businesses to sign-up –Go to –Click on Sign-Up Separate forms for –Wholesaler –HHW –Contractors –Retail 9

10 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health How to Utilize TRC Direct people with Hg thermostats to TRC locations –Contactors with thermostats –Homeowners can have thermostats (have them call business before dropping off) –For map of TRC locations –For list of TRC locations Get own TRC container if you’re a HHW organization –And must follow TRC container rules & requirements 10

11 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health How to Get Involved Promotion/Outreach activities –Ask contractors how they dispose of their thermostats –Direct mailings –Promotional Tool-kit at Tool-kit at Posters, banners, postcards can be personalized Offer grants/funding to cover the initial fee 11

12 Nebraska Department Of Health & Human ServicesDivision of Public Health Questions? Feel free to contact me with questions Derry Stover Indoor Air Quality Program Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services 301 Centennial Mall South PO Box Lincoln, NE


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