What is PSI doing on Thermostats?

PSI is currently providing technical support to state officials and environmental groups seeking to create or implement EPR programs that mandate the collection of mercury thermostats. Simultaneously, PSI is working in Illinois with the Illinois EPA to increase both the collection and recycling of mercury thermostats and mercury auto switches through our Illinois Mercury Reduction Pilot Project. 

Illinois Mercury Reduction Pilot Project

With funding from the US EPA, PSI is partnering with the Illinois EPA on a pilot project aimed at increasing the collection of mercury-containing products under the Illinois Mercury Thermostat Collection Act and the Illinois Mercury Switch Removal Act. The project employs a mixture of outreach efforts and financial incentives with the aim of developing a model for increasing mercury collection that can be replicated throughout the Great Lakes region and beyond. For thermostats, the program is covering the initial $25 fee for contractors and wholesalers to receive a thermostat collection bin from the Thermostat Recycling Corporation. For auto switches, the program is targeting mercury switches from anti-lock braking systems, as well as “miscellaneous” switches such as those from air bag crash sensors. In addition to the $2-per-switch legislated bounty, the program is paying an additional $12 per ABS assembly ($4 per switch contained), and $4 per “miscellaneous” switch. To encourage increased participation, the program is also offering a one-time $100 “first bucket bonus” to auto recyclers who have not returned auto switches for recycling since September, 2011. PSI will monitor the number of switches that have been sent to the End-of-Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation for recycling and pay out the appropriate bonuses at the end of the program.
The program also includes an extensive outreach campaign to auto recyclers, HVAC contractors, demolition contractors and wholesalers. This will include two mailings, an extensive telephone call campaign, and notices in industry newsletters.
For more information on the program, please see:

Our Past Work on Thermostats

In 2004, PSI developed a Background Summary Report that highlighted the problems, key issues, and potential solutions to managing thermostats, and held two stakeholder meetings in July and October 2004. The multi-stakeholder group reached agreement on multiple priority projects intended to increase the recycling of mercury thermostats and ban the sales of new mercury thermostats. The projects included and outreach to HVAC wholesalers, and HVAC contractors to increase the number of collection sites, testing the effectiveness of a financial incentive for contractors and homeowners, and testing collections at household hazardous waste facilities. PSI has demonstrated through a pilot project that a financial incentive provided to contractors could increase the number of mercury thermostats collected and recycled. In addition, PSI mediated the nation’s first comprehensive thermostat legislation in Maine, assisted the Maine Department of Environmental Protection on its consumer and contractor collection programs, and began a thermostat mail back pilot project. PSI also developed a comprehensive model state thermostat program. Performance goals and incentives are key components to the model program.

Get Involved

For more information, please contact Scott Cassel, at (617) 236-4822, or Scott@productstewardship.us

Key Documents