ROSSLYN, Va. - The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) announced that it has recovered 2,215 pounds of mercury from 250,000 used mercury-switch thermostats returned by HVAC contractors since it began operating in January 1998. The TRC collected approximately 65,000 thermostats and processed almost 626 pounds of mercury in 2003. That represents an 18 percent increase in the amount of mercury collected over 2002.

In addition, the TRC processed an additional 38,000 thermostats with nearly 300 pounds of mercury in 2003 from participating companies.

The TRC began operations in nine states (Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, and Wisconsin) and expanded its operations in January 2000 to the District of Columbia and 13 eastern states. In the spring of 2001, the TRC began operating in the remaining lower 48 states.

TRC is a private corporation established by thermostat manufacturers Honeywell, General Electric, and White-Rodgers. Under this voluntary, industry-sponsored program, HVAC contractors can drop off used mercury-switch thermostats of any brand at participating wholesalers. Wholesalers collect the thermostats in protective bins supplied by TRC. When the bins are full, wholesalers send them to TRC's recycling center, where it removes the switches and forwards them to a mercury recycler.

TRC focuses on HVAC contractors and wholesalers because they sell and install the majority of thermostats and because the industry already has the infrastructure to support a collection program. TRC encourages wholesalers to participate in the program and encourages contractors to take used mercury-switch thermostats to participating wholesalers. The program is free to contractors. The only cost to wholesalers is a one-time $15 fee per collection container. TRC picks up the costs of shipping, processing, and mercury recovery.

For more information about the TRC program, visit

Publication date: 03/15/2004