ROSSLYN, Va. - The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) has announced that it recovered over 80,000 thermostats containing over 729 pounds of mercury in 2004. Thermostat collections increased by 23 percent over 2003 and mercury recovery increased by 17 percent. The TRC has now recovered nearly 3,000 pounds of mercury from 336,000 used mercury-switch thermostats returned by HVAC contractors since it began operating in January 1998.

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 thirteen 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 - no matter what brand - at participating wholesalers. Wholesalers collect the thermostats in protective bins supplied by TRC. As of Dec. 31, 2004, there are over 1,100 HVAC wholesale stores across the United States participating in the program. A list of participating wholesalers is available at

When the bins are full, wholesalers send them to TRC's recycling center, where the company 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 an effective collection program. The TRC encourages wholesalers to participate in the program and 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. The TRC picks up the costs of shipping, processing, and mercury recovery.

For more information about the TRC program, contact Ric Erdheim, executive director of the corporation, at 703-841-3249 or, or visit the TRC Web site at

Publication date: 02/21/2005