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Recycling Mercury Thermostats in Massachusetts

Thermostat Recycling Corp. (TRC), Fort Washington, Pa., and New Hampshire-based Wheelabrator Technologies are collecting mercury-containing thermostats in Massachusetts. The collection program is part of the “Mass Save” energy efficiency installation and weatherization program, funded by a coalition of utility companies, according to a statement issued by TRC and Wheelabrator.

“We are excited to partner with Wheelabrator to encourage and ensure the safe collection of mercury-containing thermostats under the Mass Save program,” said Ryan Kiscaden, TRC’s executive director. “When you have a committed strategic partner as we do with Wheelabrator, staff that understand the ease of the recycling process, and an informed public that encourages recycling efforts, it increases the recycling rates of these devices dramatically.”

Under this agreement, TRC will provide free recycling containers for consolidating mercury thermostats that have been replaced in homes and businesses under the Mass Save energy efficiency program. Wheelabrator will facilitate the shipping of these devices from participating trade partners or local utilities. Lastly, TRC will process, count, and dispose of the collected thermostats. Reporting will be made available to any interested stakeholders including utility companies, participating trade allies, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

“Wheelabrator looks forward to working with TRC to provide a proactive, coordinated solution for the collection of thermostats as part of the Mass Save program,” said Jim Connolly, vice president of environmental, health and safety for Wheelabrator. “The ability to utilize TRC’s recycling services ensures the safe and cost-effective handling of mercury-containing thermostats. This agreement plays a key role in meeting the mercury recovery goals outlined in Wheelabrator’s Material Separation Plan for Massachusetts, aimed at diverting mercury from the waste stream to prevent it from being processed at our energy-from-waste facilities.”

The Mass Save energy efficiency program has the potential to extract substantial mercury thermostats for recycling, allowing Massachusetts to capture one of the last reservoirs of mercury still in service, the companies said in announcing the project.

Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) was founded in 1998 as an industry-funded nonprofit. Members are 31 manufacturers that either branded and sold mercury thermostats in the U.S. prior to their discontinuation in 2007, or produced devices that may replace mercury-containing thermostats.

With a network of more than 3,400 collection sites nationwide, TRC said, it has recovered more than 2.1 million thermostats, or 10 tons of mercury, to date. TRC assumes all costs to transport and properly dispose of recovered thermostats.

Visit thermostat-recycle.org to learn more and find a recycling location near you.

Wheelabrator Technologies is an energy-from-waste business, and an industry leader in the conversion of everyday residential and business waste into clean energy. Wheelabrator has a platform of 23 power-producing assets across the U.S. and U.K.: 19 energy-from-waste facilities; four independent power plants; four ash monofills; and three transfer stations. Wheelabrator currently has an annual waste-processing capacity of over 7.5 million tons, and a total combined electric generating capacity of 853 megawatts—enough energy to power more than 805,000 homes. Wheelabrator also recovers metals for recycling into commercial products.

Wheelabrator is owned by Energy Capital Partners, an energy infrastructure-focused private equity firm. To learn more, visit Energy Capital Partners at ecpartners.com or Wheelabrator at wtienergy.com.

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