In April 2006, Maine Governor John Baldacci signed into law a legislative agreement that PSI mediated among thermostat manufacturers, environmental groups, and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection (ME DEP). The law is the nation’s first financial incentive to recycle thermostats that contain mercury, and the first law to require thermostat collection for residents. Key elements also include aggressive performance goals and a requirement that all manufacturers offer a thermostat recycling program.
Under the Maine thermostat law, all manufacturers must "provide a financial incentive with a minimum value of $5 for the return of each mercury-added thermostat by a contractor or service technician to an established recycling collection point.” PSI was also involved in a ME DEP stakeholder group that discussed the most effective way to implement the law’s contractor incentive. (For information on a PSI pilot project in Oregon and Indiana addressing this issue, please see Thermostat Project #3 - HVAC Contractor Incentive Pilot Project.)
ME DEP held 4 meetings in the summer and fall of 2006, after which the agency finalized the contractor incentive portion of the law. ME DEP was tasked with developing a two-phased plan, through a stakeholder process, that specified the incentive to be paid to contractors and service technicians by January 1, 2007. These plans encourage the purchase of non-mercury Energy Star qualified thermostats as replacements. Retailers are prohibited from selling any thermostats from non-compliant manufacturers. As of 2008, all mercury thermostat manufacturers were required to report annually to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) concerning the collection and recycling program.