NYPSC-PSI NY Thermostats Webinar - Registrant landing page

Mercury Matters: New York Heats Up Thermostat Legislation

Co-Hosted with the New York Product Stewardship Council

Available for FREE thanks to the Robert Sterling Clark Foundation


Wednesday, December 5th

1:00 - 2:30 PM EST / 10:30 - 11:30 PM PST

Audio Recording

Background Materials
Overview: New York State's existing voluntary collection programs capture just over 1% of discarded thermostats. This means that 98% of thermostats--and the more than one ton of mercury they contain, collectively--are being sent to landfills and waste-to-energy facilities each year.

New York has some of the most progressive environmental policies in the U.S., and even though it has had a ban on landfilling thermostats since 2005, it was still ranked 31st in the nation for thermostat recovery per capita.

"New York Heats Up Thermostat Legislation" will explore how New York can solve its mercury problem through the passage of strong Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) legislation that incentivizes thermostat collection.

Marjorie Torelli, New York Product Stewardship Council


Scott Cassel, Product Stewardship Institute

Laura Haight, New York Public Interest Research Group

Abby King, Natural Resources Council of Maine

Gary Gulka, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation

click on speaker to view full bio below

Marjorie Torelli, Coordinator, New York Product Stewardship Institute
Marjorie Torelli is a consultant specializing in recycling and waste reduction. She has over 20 years of experience in the recycling field. She worked for the Western Finger Lakes SWM Authority, assisting in the management of a county-wide curbside recycling system. She managed all the public information and special events for Wayne and Yates Counties. In addition, Ms. Torelli served several years on the Board of the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3), including 2 as Board President. In addition she served on the Federation of New York Solid Waste Association Board and on the planning committee for the annual conference. She is looking forward to promoting the work of the NYPSC throughout the State.

Scott Cassel, CEO/Founder, Product Stewardship Institute
Scott Cassel is the Chief Executive Officer and Founder of the Product Stewardship Institute (PSI). Prior to founding the Institute in 2000, Scott served seven years as the Director of Waste Policy and Planning for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs. He is a founding Board Member and past-President of the North American Hazardous Materials Management Association, whose mission is to reduce the toxicity of the municipal waste stream. He is also a founding Board Member of the Global Product Stewardship Council, which harmonizes product stewardship programs internationally. Scott has worked on product and waste management issues for the past 30 years, for a start-up solid waste management company, a non-profit statewide environmental group, and several other government agencies, including the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority. He is author of a comprehensive book chapter on product stewardship in the 2008 Handbook on Household Hazardous Waste. He was also a syndicated newspaper columnist in Massachusetts, and a former columnist for the Boston Business Journal. Scott has a master's degree in environmental policy and dispute resolution from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an undergraduate degree in Geology and Environmental Studies from the University of Pennsylvania.

Laura Haight, Senior Environmental Associate, New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG)
Laura Haight directs NYPIRG's advocacy on solid waste, toxics, air and energy issues. NYPIRG is New York’s largest consumer and environmental advocacy organization, with more than 20 offices across the state. Prior to joining NYPIRG’s staff in 1999, Ms. Haight held positions in several other nonprofit environmental groups in New York, including Clearwater, Scenic Hudson, and Environmental Advocates. She has a BA in American History and Literature from Harvard University and an MS in Environmental Studies from the Bard College Graduate School of Environmental Studies. Ms. Haight has played a leading role in successful efforts in New York State to expand the bottle bill, ban the sale of mercury-added consumer products, and establish a mandatory e-waste collection program.

Abby King, Toxics Policy Advocate, Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM)
Abby King leads NRCM’s Toxics Policy Project. She advocates for policies that reduce the use and proliferation of toxic materials in everyday products. Abby earned a B.A. in Environmental Geography from Colgate University and a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy Studies. Prior to NRCM, she worked in bicycle and pedestrian advocacy at Transportation Alternatives in New York City, did research on uranium mining at the Natural Resources Defense Council, and spent four seasons in the backcountry with the Appalachian Mountain Club. Abby hiked the Appalachian Trail in 2011 from Georgia to Maine and has been here ever since.

Gary Gulka, Assistance & Prevention Chief, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation - Waste Management and Prevention Division
Gary Gulka is Chief of the Assistance & Prevention Section in the Waste Management and Prevention Division of the VT Department of Environmental Conservation. His responsibilities include oversight of Vermont’s mercury product laws relating to product labeling and sales restrictions, as well as product stewardship programs for mercury thermostats and lamps. Gary also oversees small business and municipal compliance assistance, pollution prevention and business recognition programs in the Department. He has been with the Department for 29 years.

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Comments from Local and State Governments

"Thank you—This was a very informative and efficient way to reach a number of people."
Dianne Woske
Fulton County D.S.W.

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William D'Alessandro
Victor House News Co.

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Stephanie Lauster
Pinellas County, FL

"Excellent program and I look forward to participating in the future."
John Malter
Mad River Solid Waste Alliance

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