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Mercury-Containing Thermostat Disposal


So you are ready to replace your current thermostat for an energy star programmable model – have you thought about the proper disposal of the old one?

Many thermostats used to control the room temperature in your home contain mercury. To identify, remove the front plate and you will see one or more small glass bulbs, known as tilt switches, which contain mercury. Each tilt switch contains roughly three grams of mercury, though some may hold as much as six grams. Mercury is very toxic and can leak out of a discarded thermostat to contaminate our air, water and soil. Consequently these old thermostats should never be disposed of in the trash or local landfill.

Montana passed the "Mercury-Added Thermostat Recycling Act (75-10-1504 MCA) to require wholesalers to take-back  hermostats and reduce the amount of household hazardous waste disposed of in landfills.  The Act also forbids future sales of mercury-containing thermostats.  Contractors, landfills, retailers and others can participate in the program as well.

The "Thermostat Recycling Corporation" is an industry-funded program which actually collects and recycles the mercury from thermostats.  A one-time fee of $25 covers the cost of a container for thermostats and free shipping for recycling.  The program provides a replacement container at no further cost. Visit their website to find locations accepting thermostats for recycling, or to register to participate in the program. 

Thermostat Collection Program made possible by:

For more information, contact the Montana Department of Environmental Quality’s Business and Community Assistance Program at 1-800-433-8773.


Rebate available for installing programmable thermostats in gas-heated homes!  See NorthWestern Energy's website: Programmable Thermostat Rebate