New rules to keep mercury from Calif. landfills

New Calif. rules mandate recycling of thermostats in effort to keep mercury out of landfills

Associated Press

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- New California rules will require the makers of new thermostats to do a better job of keeping old ones containing the neurotoxin mercury out of landfills.

Since 2006 it has been against state law to sell mercury thermostats in California, but millions of old ones are still in use. Tens of thousands of them are replaced every year.

The rules issued Wednesday by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control will require manufacturers to collect and recycle an increasing number of the thermostats annually. By 2017, 75 percent will have to be diverted away from landfills.

The rules are intended to bolster the 2008 Mercury Thermostat Collection Act, which required manufacturers to operate a collection and recycling program.

In a report written by the Natural Resources Defense Council and other environmental groups it is estimated recycling thermostats will keep hundreds of tons of mercury out of landfills.

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