Recycling mercury

Edith of Grand Haven asked, "Where can I properly dispose of mercury? I have a couple of old thermometers that I would guess have mercury in them, and I heard they are very dangerous to the environment to just throw away in the trash."
Mark Brooky
May 6, 2013

ANSWER:

You're right about that, Edith. Mercury is a serious pollutant.

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality is partnering with the Environmental Quality Co. of Wayne for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Mercury Collection Project. This is an on-going effort to collect and properly recycle mercury.

The project’s objective is to promote a long-term solution for easily collecting and recycling of mercury.  The program is free to anyone in Michigan, businesses and residents. 

Here's how it works:

Upon request, the company will send a free collection bucket with a shipping box to your door via common carrier. Each bucket will contain return instructions. Once the bucket is filled with the mercury containing device(s), apply the return label (provided with your bucket), securely tape the box and place it where the designated shipper normally picks up your packages.

The company will facilitate the recycling of the mercury.

Most mercury items can be returned through this mail-back program. Some examples of eligible mercury containing devices include: thermometers, thermostats, gauges with silver-colored liquid inside, dental amalgam and hydrometers. 

You can either call the company at 734-547-2517 or e-mail them at mercurybucket@eqonline.com to order a free collection container and instruction kit. The program ends Sept. 30.

For mercury recycling locations in West Michigan, CLICK HERE.

More information on the Mercury Collection Program can be found greatlakesrestoration.us/ or eqonline.com.

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Comments

unclejoe

What about the mercury in those Chinese fluorescent bulbs we are required to use? Heard your government balks at the $80 recycling containers (price includes disposal), what about the common schlepp at home; think he is paying to properly dispose of these mandatory bulbs?

Lanivan

You are not required to use anything if you don't want to. There is nothing mandatory about light bulbs. In fact, the stores are filled to the gills with all sorts of light bulbs - Home Depot has 6-pks of incandescent bulbs, 60 watt, for $3.97.

And also, all Home Depot stores accept used CFL bulbs. In Grand Haven, the bin is located near the east entrance before the nursery area. It takes all of 2 minutes to get out of your car, walk in, drop the bagged bulb in the bin, and take off.

Sandypants

As if all of the good citizens have the gas money and time to burn driving to Home Depot. It's in the trash and in the land fills now making it's way into the water supply. Thanks Obama administration.

GHJames

Buy a pack, put the old ones in the empty spaces as you replace them. When the pack is full of old ones bring them with you when you go to buy a new pack. This is pretty basic life skills sandypants, not like it's health care reform or gun control. When you have to pay a 10 cent deposit or a $5 core charge on them, then it's time to go all "Thanks Obama" on them.

Sandypants

yeah . . . and Johnny country boy is just gonna follow those rules just cause . . . ?

GH55

Johnny Country boy is either going to follow the rules or waste his money on excessive electricity use. You have to buy new bulbs when the old ones fail, take them with ou then, not much thought there. You are worried about a bit of mercury in these bulbs when at the Campbell plant south of Grand Haven, they burn 6,000,000 TONS of coal per year spewing mersury into the air. This plant and many others are one reason why we con only eat limited amounts of any fish caught in the Great Lakes, oh, yeah, and a boat out of Ludington that we don't need to discuss today.
Using these bulbs, you save money on electricity and you are still all cranked up about it? Whaahahahahahm-bulance call!
I guess I don't understand why saving money and reducing the power plant effluent spewed into the air is a bad thing! Jeeeze that Obama is a bad President! Oh, yeah, the DOW is over 15,000 now! More bad stuff!

Sandypants

and if you break one you are supposed to call the Hazmat team. How is that saving anyone money (if you have any left after paying taxes in this ever so awful economy)? From my experience, those bulbs last no longer than the others and cost twice as much. What a crock!

Citizen

Just 'cause he is part of a society and has respect for others around him as well as for his descendents. Your point is valid, though; unfortunately we can't expect everyone to responsibly dispose of things they consume. It is a real shame that people can't be troubled to take a few, possibly inconvenient, steps that will help reduce our impact on the environment.

These things don't take up a lot of space, in case Johnny country boy only makes it to the city once a year.

Lanivan

You do not appear to have all the facts. The Energy Independent & Security Act of 2007, under Bush, was a huge piece of legislation that helped to move the US toward greater energy independence. The incandescent light bulb portion that mandated phase-out over several years of certain bulbs of specific lumens was defunded for the 2012 budget. But bulb manufacturers re-tooled years ago, and CFL bulbs are now the leader in types of bulbs. LED and halogen are surging as well.

By the way, the mercury in your tooth fillings and watch battery is greater than in a CFL bulb. The mercury in your florescent tubes, which have been used for years, is greater than the mercury in a CFL bulb.

And Obama and his administration have nothing to do with it. Sorry - it's so easy for lazy people to blame Obama rather than checking into things. Try it - just for the heck of it some time.

HueJastle

they should make it easier to recycle all of the items that contain hazardous materials like bulbs... and batteries and anything else we should just throw in the regular trash

HueJastle

*shouldn't throw away

rukidding

Hey Lanivan, you seem to know everything, or at least quite a bit actually; why can't the post entered in this paper be put in proper order?

Lanivan

Actually, it was. I was replying to Sandypants comment posted on Monday, 11:35p.m. If you follow it down, I think it lands in proper order.

Btw, I don't know everything, but enjoy learning and like to get facts before giving opinions. You seem to me to fall in that category, too.

Vladtheimp

The democrat Energy Independence and Security Act, signed by President Bush, phased out certain incandescent bulbs to stop global warming. It worked! Now that we're in for a period of global cooling, look for the genii in Congress to ban CFL bulbs and bring back incandescents - for their heating effect to stop people from freezing in their homes. This will be good for Mexico, which now produces most of the incandescent bulbs in the Western hemisphere (at least until Obama's amnesty law passes, when 1/3 of the Mexican population will move here to collect Obamaphones and other entitlements).

Lanivan

Since rukidding thinks I know everything, or at least something, I feel an obligation to correct some of the fallacies in your post.

The official term is Climate Change, not global warming - huge difference. As punishment, touch a burning incandescent and count to 5, and if you insist, you can count to 10 since you love those bulbs so much (just don't get burnt!!)

Next - nothing is banned. Buy all the incandescents you want - pay those electric bills and stand on those teetering ladders every other day changing out bulbs! (How much you wanna bet you use fluorescents for those..;)..)

Then there is the matter of Obamaphones. There is no such thing. The proper term should be Bushphones, as he was the president who created it. Of course, nothing has quite the ring to it as when you put 'Obama' before it. Perhaps you were thinking of Obamacare, which, to be fair, should be called ObRomneycare, since Romney first implemented it in Massachusetts as governor.

Finally, there is currently a net zero of migration from Mexico into the US, and deportations of illegal immigrants is at an all-time high under Obama. And of course, as to your 1/3 of Mexican population comment, are you promoting the 'reconquista' theory, or just hoping Mexico will clear out and make way for US retirees, which as I understand it, is becoming a very desirable retirement venue. Just don't settle too close to the coastline, as it has been recently reported that the summer ice is melting at a faster rate in the Antarctic Peninsula than at any time in the last 1,000 years, with most of the intensification of melting happening since the mid-20th century.

Vladtheimp

1. Progressives and statists started calling it "Climate Change" after it was proven there has been no global warming for almost 2 decades and they needed a new cover story. There is no "official" title.

2. Where did I mention "banned"? I said "phased out." You need to make sure your talking points are pointed at the right comment.

3. Tell that to this woman http://youtu.be/tpAOwJvTOio

4. You're simply wrong on immigration from Mexico and deportations http://www.alipac.us/f8/obama-bu... and CBS: Illegals Entering US Triple With Talk of Immigration Reform
http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront...

5. Your talking points are only as honest as the government officials you are getting them from.

Lanivan

The term 'Climate Change' was used as far back as 1970, and is favored among scientists as it depicts the full ramifications of global warming at a speed and on a scale the world is currently experiencing. But to a denier of both, who cares which term should be used, or why?

You might have used phased out, but whatever - the Congress "banned" the funding of that portion of the bill for the 2012 budget, so let's split hairs just for the heck of it. Frankly, the marketplace has spoken on this matter, and the next time you walk by the light bulb aisle, it should warm the cockles of your heart. Those people who want to save time, money, and energy can do so, and those who don't, don't.

Once again, your links and mine just don't jibe. Go figure. http://www.washingtontimes.com/n...

I guess your talking points are only as unbiased as the sources you get them from.

Vladtheimp

An inconvenient truth by saint gore, the hockey stick, the tree ring analysis, the disappearance of the polar bears and arctic ice, and everything out of East Anglia was focused on global warming. Why try to spin something that is so easily proven wrong?

Every time I walk down the light bulb aisle I am saddened that my pro-choice philosophy has been limited by government, in the knee-jerk reaction to bogus environmentalist global warming B.S., while folks who can afford the new environmental tax less that I are limited to hugely expensive, aesthetically poor, and of questionable useful life bulbs because of global warming.

Lanivan

"Every time I walk down the light bulb aisle I am saddened...". Really? You have my deepest condolences.

GHJames

If I ever run accross you with tear in your eye at Home Depot Vlad, I want you to know I,m there for ya buddy. We can hug it out and walk over to Starbucks for a couple mocha frappecino grandes while we remember the days when recycling a lightbulb meant setting it on the fence post for target practice. Oh well, we can't even buy the ammo to do the recycling with these days.

Vladtheimp

Thanks Bro! The tears in my eyes could be caused by the lack of ammo, the lack of cashiers at Home Depot, or the lack of support from the "pro choice" people (if you're talking light bulbs but not babies), but the tears would really flow if you found me in the yuppie, overpriced, bitter clingers that is Starbucks.

rukidding

Well Lanivan it doesn't. The post start on Monday and then goes
into Tuesday and then HueJastle goes back to Monday again; certainly not a correct time line. That's twice you were incorrect in one post.

Lanivan

No, rukidding - I was right. On Tues @ 12:00 a.m., GHJames replied to Sandypants' Monday 11:35 p.m. comment. Then Sandypants replied on Tues @ 12:11 a.m. to GHJames's 12:00 a.m. reply (doesn't anybody sleep around here?). Next, GH55 replied to Sandypants Tues 12:11 a.m. reply on Tues @ 8:20 a.m. To add to the confusion, Citizen replied on Tues @ 8:54 a.m. to Sandypants' 12:11 a.m. reply. Finally, I weighed in on Sandypants comment of Monday 11:35 p.m. this morning. Really - it does work. Sorry.

And by the way, am I to assume the other incorrect statement you accuse me of is the one where I figured you to not be the lazy type who takes the easy way out, doesn't enjoy learning and doesn't get facts before giving opinions? If I was wrong, and you are all those those things, my apologies for the incorrect assumption.

rukidding

How do you go from a post on Tuesday at 9:17 am (yours) to Monday at 7:39 pm (HueJastle).

Lanivan

Tue, 05/07/2013 - 9:17am

You do not appear to have all the facts. The Energy Independent & Security Act of 2007, under Bush, was a huge piece of legislation that helped to move the US toward greater energy independence. The incandescent light bulb portion that mandated phase-out over several years of certain bulbs of specific lumens was defunded for the 2012 budget. But bulb manufacturers re-tooled years ago, and CFL bulbs are now the leader in types of bulbs. LED and halogen are surging as well.

By the way, the mercury in your tooth fillings and watch battery is greater than in a CFL bulb. The mercury in your florescent tubes, which have been used for years, is greater than the mercury in a CFL bulb.

And Obama and his administration have nothing to do with it. Sorry - it's so easy for lazy people to blame Obama rather than checking into things. Try it - just for the heck of it some time.

.
HueJastle

Mon, 05/06/2013 - 7:39pm

they should make it easier to recycle all of the items that contain hazardous materials like bulbs... and batteries and anything else we should just throw in the regular trash

Lanivan

Since this matter seems to be vitally important to you - seemingly more important then the actual topic - here goes again: don't follow the comments chronologically or by content. I was replying to Sandypants' comment regarding the Obama administration being the cause of the banning of light bulbs, because they aren't (either the banning or the Obama administration).

My comment didn't have anything to do with HueJastle's comments (where do they come up with these names...although I can figure out how you got yours), although it'd be nice if you replied to him with information on where in the community you can dispose of hazardous waste materials. Oh, wait,...that's right, you tell me you are lazy.....wrong assumption again...sorry..

Sandypants

Where did I say anything about the bulbs being banned fact man?? Hmmmm??? Hot air bla bla bla.

Lanivan

You talkin' to me?....

Ottawa County P...

The Ottawa County Health Department offers a Thermometer Exchange program, free for Ottawa County Residents. Residents can bring their mercury containing thermometers to any health department branch or Resource Recovery Service Center and we will give you a free digital thermometer in exchange. There is a limit of one digital thermometer per resident (regardless of the number of mercury thermometers that are brought in).

Schools, homes, health care facilities, and businesses may have mercury containing devices such as barometers, thermometers, sphygmomanometers, mercury switches, and elemental mercury. Please call (616) 393-5645 for instructions on proper handling of mercury and to arrange for free disposal.

Compact Fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and fluorescent lights contain very small amounts of mercury in the form of a vapor powder. Ottawa County Residents can recycle CFLs at their local Home Depot store and other local retailers. To find an outlet near you, please visit earth911.com and use the search function for your area. Four and eight foot fluorescent light bulbs can be recycled for free at any Ottawa County Resource Recovery Service Center.

Mercury is a toxic element found in household devices like thermometers and thermostats. Inhalation of mercury vapor can lead to neurological damage in children. When handling mercury containing devices, care should be taken not to break or spill the mercury in the home and ensure the mercury is disposed of properly.

Gargantous Mons...

Thanks OCPH!!

Ottawa County P...

You are welcome! We strive to help keep our communities healthy :)

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