Central New York , Community , Environment , Health , Public Safety

Mercury Disposal Made Easy

Some of the thermostats that people dropped off at the mercury drop-off event in Jamseville today. (c) 2017 Stefan Oliva

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By Stefan Oliva SYRACUSE (NCC News) – The Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency held its fourth annual mercury drop-off event in Jamesville this morning.

The OCRRA encouraged residents to drop-off their old thermostats and thermometers containing mercury. Participants who did so received a $10 gift certificate from Lowe’s and a new mercury-free digital thermometer. People also brought jars of mercury, which could weigh well over 10 pounds each.

The Thermostat Recycling Corporation was responsible for properly disposing any thermostats that contain mercury. Environmental Products and Services was in charge of disposing thermometers and random mercury items.

Since 2014, it has been illegal to throw mercury in the trash in New York state, so the easiest and safest way to get rid of it is to bring it to a TRC location. “So it’s really just about collecting it properly so that it’s not released in some accidental manner,” said Ann Fordock, the recycling operations manager at OCRRA.

If exposed to it, mercury can be a health hazard, so having a drop-off event is one way to reduce its effects and harm to people. “The idea is just to get it out of your environment, frankly,” said Kristen Lawton, OCRRA’s public information officer, “so that you don’t have the potential for future issues like nervous system damage, kidney failure, things like that.”