A report from the Natural Resources Council of Maine indicates that the state’s program to encourage recycling of mercury-laden thermostats is working.
by Irwin Gratz
A new report out today hails Maine’s program to encourage the proper recycling of mercury-containing thermostats. Under the program, Mainers who turn thermostats in to recycling centers in designated stores get a $5 rebate.
Abby King, the toxics policy advocate for the Natural Resources Council of Maine, says those rebates are making a difference.
“What this report shows is that when people have a financial incentive to do the right thing and recycle their toxic products, that has an effect on how many people choose to do that and protect the environment,” King says.
King says Maine collects more thermostats per capita than all but one of the other states with a program, and significantly more than states with no program.
King says the biggest problem with the program is that not enough Mainers know about it. Though Maine is doing better than most other states in collecting defunct mercury-laden thermostats, NRCM officials estimate that only about a quarter of thermostats that are discarded in Maine each year are recycled.
King says the makers of mercury thermostats need to “step up” and do a better job at advertising the program.