RI's Mercury Thermostat Collection
and Recycling Law
Rhode Island's Mercury Reduction and Education Act (RIGL 23-24.9) was recently amended to include new, specific provisions which impact mercury-added thermostats. The law requires manufacturers of mercury-added thermostats that have been sold in the state to establish and maintain a collection and recycling program for out-of-service mercury-added thermostats from wholesalers, contractors, retailers, service technicians and homeowners.
The Mercury Reduction and Education Act has made it illegal to sell mercury-added thermostats in Rhode Island since 2006. However, hundreds of thousands of mercury-added thermostats are still in use in Rhode Island homes and businesses, and the new legislation requires thermostat manufacturers to provide a comprehensive system to safely manage mercury-added thermostats.
Highlights of Amendments to RI's Mercury Law (2010 Senate Bill 2353A & 2010 House Bill 7199A):
The Goals of Rhode Island's program are:
- Requires old mercury-added thermostats to be recycled at the expense of thermostat manufacturers (or their designee). Wholesalers and contractors play an important role in collecting/recycling old mercury-added thermostats and shall not offer for sale or distribute any thermostat unless the wholesaler/contractor acts as a collection site for thermostats the contain mercury. This sales prohibition takes effect February 1, 2011.
- The manufacturers must submit a detailed description of a collection program for mercury-added thermostats that meets the requirements of section 23-24.9-10.2 to the Department. On or after January 1, 2011, manufacturers must make collection containers available to all qualified contractors, thermostat wholesalers, thermostat retailers, and local government collections that request a container for thermostats that contain mercury. Information regarding the proper management of thermostats as universal waste must be included.
- A one-time fee, not to exceed $75.00 per collection container, may be assessed to participants.
- Wholesalers/distributors shall support and participate with manufacturers to educate consumers on the proper management of out-of-service mercury-added thermostats. This includes the posting of signs at sites serving as collection points for mercury-added thermostats.
- Wholesalers/distributors shall receive from manufacturers educational and other outreach materials. These materials shall include, but are not limited to, one or more of the following:
- Signage that is prominently displayed and easily visible to the consumer and contractors.
- Written materials and templates of materials for reproduction by retailers and wholesalers to be provided to the consumer at the time of purchase, delivery, or both purchase and delivery of a thermostat. The materials shall include information on the prohibition of improper disposal of mercury-added thermostats, the proper management of out-of-service mercury-added thermostats, and the locations of collection opportunities.
- Advertising and/or other promotional materials that include references to collection opportunities.
- Materials to be used in direct communications with the consumer and contractor at the time of purchase.
- Mercury-added thermostats collected as part of a state weatherization or energy efficiency program are required to be properly recycled.
- Manufacturers are required to collect a certain number of mercury-added thermostats per year in accordance with a collection plan as approved by the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM). The collection goals are as follows:
|Program Year 2011
||2,000 mercury-added thermostats
|Program Year 2012
||2,250 mercury-added thermostats
|Program Year 2013
||2,500 mercury-added thermostats
|Program Year 2014
||2,500 mercury-added thermostats
|Program Year 2015
||RIDEM sets goals via regulation
- RIDEM will maintain and post a list of collection points in RI on its website.
- Manufacturers not in compliance with this law are prohibited from selling thermostats in RI.
- Wholesalers and retailers shall not distribute or offer for sale any brand of thermostat by a manufacturer that is not in compliance with this new law.
Manufacturer Groups Proposing Collection/Recycling Opportunities in RI:
- To give every contractor and citizen a convenient opportunity to recycle all mercury thermostats.
- For RIDEM and others to partner with the manufacturers to establish sound collection and recycling programs for thermostats that would otherwise end up in the trash.
- To educate Rhode Island residents and businesses on the importance of recycling their thermostats, and how it protects the environment.
- To acknowledge the manufacturers' commitment to offering a collection and recycling program for mercury thermostats, and to recognize the existing program as an avenue for manufacturers to comply with the Rhode Island law.
- To promote a comprehensive product stewardship approach to reduce environmental and health risks posed by the use or disposal of products like mercury-added thermostats.
Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC)
If you have any questions concerning the new law, please contact Beverly Migliore via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 401-222-4700 x7503.