New York state manufacturers must develop and implement a mercury thermostat collection program, after a new Bill was signed into law in December 2013.
Beginning July 1, 2014, the law will ensure the safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible collection of mercury thermostats throughout the state. The program aims to meet a pre-established goal of collecting 15,500 thermostats by 2015
The Mercury Thermostat Collection Act passed the state assembly in June 2013
“Mercury is a neurotoxin that can cause birth defects and other health problems. This kind of extended producer responsibility legislation will lead to a healthier environment, and help protect our state's air, land, and water resources,” said Andrew Radin, chairman of the New York Product Stewardship Council, speaking in a statement. “The Council commends Gov. Cuomo for signing this important environmental bill into law, and for supporting a product stewardship system of managing materials that are difficult to recycle or dispose of at the end of their useful life,” he added.
According to an April 2013 report released by the Product Stewardship Institute, Inc. (PSI) and the Multi-State Mercury Products Campaign, New York ranked 37 out of 47 states in per-capita thermostat collection rates for 2011. The Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC), the manufacturer-led non-profit organization for collecting and properly disposing mercury thermostats, collects only one percent of the estimated 310,000 mercury thermostats that are taken out of service every year in New York. As a result, more than one tonne of mercury enters the state's waste stream and environment each year.