Mercury and mercury-containing items, including thermometers and thermostats, are accepted at county household hazardous waste collection site. It’s illegal in Minnesota to throw away mercury-containing products. Never put these items in your curbside garbage or recycling cart whether they are intact or broken.
Transport mercury and mercury-containing items in a rigid, sealed container to avoid breakage on the way to the collection site.
Identifying Mercury-Containing Items
Mercury thermometers are made of glass and contains a silver, metallic gray or black liquid. If your thermometer contains a red or blue liquid, it’s an alcohol thermometer. Alcohol and digital thermometers may be placed in the garbage.
Most thermostats, other than electronic programmable thermostats, contain mercury. To determine if you have a mercury thermostat, remove the front plate. If you see a small glass vial with silver liquid inside, the thermostat contains mercury.
Other mercury-containing items include:
Cleaning up Mercury Spills
Most mercury spills in homes are from broken thermometers. Special handling is required to keep everyone safe. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has resources for cleaning up spilled mercury in the home.