ROSSLYN, Va. - The Thermostat Recycling Corp. (TRC) announced that it recovered more than 60,000 thermostats containing over 575 pounds of mercury between January and June of 2006; this represents an increase of 10,000 thermostats and 115 pounds of mercury over the first half of 2005. At this rate, TRC anticipates an annual increase of 37 percent in thermostat collections, as well as a 40 percent increase in the amount of mercury collected for 2006. Since its inception in January 1998, the program has collected over 429,000 mercury-switch thermostats and removed more than 3,900 pounds of mercury from the nation's waste stream.

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 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

Publication date: 10/23/2006