July 2 - New Thermostat Recycling Regulations Now in Effect

New regulations for the collection and recycling of mercury-added thermostats, banned in California landfills and considered hazardous waste, went into effect yesterday.

The regulations require manufacturers, collection centers and wholesalers to meet measurable performance goals related to AB 2347(Ruskin). This legislation, signed into law in 2008, required manufacturers who sold mercury added thermostats before Jan. 1 2006, to develop collection and recycling programs for them.

The new regulations, which will be monitored by the Department of Toxic Substances Control, require collection and recycling of 30% of out of service thermostats by the end of 2013 and the number increases annually until it reaches 75% in 2017.

"I'm proud that California is again leading the way, and will be a model for other take-back programs," DTSC Director Deborah Raphael said in a statement. "I'm confident it will show how successful the industry is in collecting thermostats and making sure that the mercury stays out of the environment."

Mercury is a toxin that poses health risks to people of all ages, particularly pregnant women and young children. Mercury-added thermostats were banned from sale in California in 2006.

Up until now, manufacturers are collecting less than 9% of discarded thermostat. The stringent new regulations will help ensure mercury in old thermostats are safely recycled instead of ending up in the trash.

Photo Credit: Epoch Times

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