America’s Top Mercury Recycler Highlights Collection of 2.4 Million Thermostats
Thermostat Recycling Corp., (TRC) celebrates its 20th anniversary Oct. 24, when it incorporated as a stewardship nonprofit.
The original founders — Honeywell, White-Rogers and General Electric — created TRC (through National Electrical Manufacturers Association) with the mission of collecting and recycling thermostats containing mercury, a universally recognized health hazard.
TRC has contributed to the effort by collecting 2.4 million thermostats and prevented 11 tons of mercury from entering the environmental stream.
“This is a landmark anniversary not only because we collected millions of mercury containing thermostats, but we made a consistent and successful contribution to keep our environment safer,” said Ryan L. Kiscaden, executive director, Thermostat Recycling Corp. “Our charter members and those who joined subsequently were determined that TRC would ensure that our effort would be widespread and diligent. Reaching this milestone anniversary allows a moment of reflection. Given the success we’ve had, it proves the foresight of our founders is paying off.”
From the trio of original manufacturers, TRC has expanded to 30 members that provide financial support. Its recycling program now covers the 48 contiguous states, with more than 3,600 businesses and communities serving as collection centers for the free service.
The vast number of TRC’s collection sites consist of HVAC wholesale businesses, who provide space for a special green container that allows their contractor customers to deposit the thermostats in. The wholesalers send the container, via FedEx, to TRC’s recycling center in Port Washington, Wisconsin, where the recycler safely extracts, recycles and stores the mercury. In 2006, TRC added household waste collection sites and thermostat retailers to their collection efforts.
“While we’re gratified to celebrate this 20-year effort and an enviable measure of success, our job is still unfinished,” says Kiscaden. “We’re still engaged in finding that last, elusive mercury containing thermostat, and we don’t plan on taking a rest until we find and safely recycle it.”