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Mercury-Thermometers: Handling, Recycling & Disposal
Table of Contents
Background and Overview
Collection & Exchange
Alternative Products
Handling, Recycling & Disposal
Mercury Reduction Programs
Where To Go for Help
Complete List of Links

Waste mercury thermometers must be handled as hazardous wastes unless the state has adopted a state universal waste rule that includes all mercury-containing devices, in which case they can be handled as universal wastes. Appropriate hazardous or universal waste requirements for storage, labeling, accumulation time, transportation, and manifesting apply. (For a more detailed description of all regulations that may apply to mercury products, see the Mercury Topic Hub - Regulations section.)

There are U.S. companies that recover the mercury from waste mercury-containing devices, including mercury thermometers, refine it and make it available for reuse in new mercury products. Maintained by state environmental programs and other organizations, a few lists of companies that provide this service are included in the links section in this Topic Hub.

Disposal as a hazardous waste is also an option for waste mercury-containing material. Mercury wastes are subject to EPA's Land Disposal Restrictions which were enacted through the Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments of 1984 that amended the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act. These restrictions prohibit the land disposal of hazardous waste that has not been adequately treated to reduce the threat posed by such waste. EPA's current LDR regulations set both technology and numerical based treatment standards that require waste management facilities to either retort, roast, or incinerate hazardous wastes that contain greater than 260 mg/kg of total mercury (depending on the presence of organics); or treat hazardous wastes that contain less than 260 mg/kg of total mercury to 0.025 mg/L TCLP prior to land disposal.


The Topic Hub™ is a product of the Pollution Prevention Resource Exchange (P2Rx)

The Mercury-Thermometers Topic Hub™ was developed by:

Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association
Contact email:

Hub Last Updated: 1/8/2013