The TRC is a private corporation established by thermostat manufacturers Honeywell, General Electric, and White Rodgers. It is a voluntary, industry-sponsored program that provides a mechanism for the proper disposal of mercury switch thermostats, regardless of brand. More than 1,100 wholesale suppliers of thermostats participate in the TRC program. (A full list of participating wholesalers is provided at www.nema.org/trc.) HVAC contractors are also eligible to participate, provided they have at least seven contractors or technicians in the firm or are located in a rural county. Each wholesaler that becomes active in the TRC receives a protective storage bin for a one-time cost of $15 (additional bins are available at the same price). This fee is waived for HVAC contractors. When the bins are full, participants send them to the TRC's recovery center, where industry personnel remove the switches and forward them to a mercury recycling facility.
TRC focuses on HVAC contractors and wholesalers because they sell and install the majority of thermostats, and the industry already has the infrastructure to support an effective collection program. Some local governments have separate programs in place to manage recycling or disposal of used thermostats directly from homeowners.
The TRC began operating 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. By 2001, the program was active in the remaining lower 48 states. The five states with the largest thermostat collection totals during the first half of 2006 are, in order of mercury recovery: Arizona, Missouri, Utah, New Hampshire, and Nebraska.
For more information about the TRC program, visit www.nema.org/trc.
Publication date: 10/23/2006