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Mercury Thermostat Collection Program

Organization(s) Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation
Project Description The Vermont Dept. of Environmental Conservation (VT DEC) conducted a two-month mercury thermostat collection pilot project to test the effect of a financial incentive on increasing the rate of residential mercury thermostat recycling. A total of 86 hardware stores served as collection points throughout the state during the months of October and November 2007. A $5.00 cash incentive was provided in the form of $5.00 off the purchase of anything in the participating store where the thermostat was returned. DEC paid for the program through its special fund for mercury reduction projects. The Thermostat Recycling Corporation provided the collection bins and recycling at no charge to the stores. DEC arranged for newspaper and radio advertisements and in-store advertising materials.

Almost 1,200 mercury thermostats were collected during the two-month program. The collection of thermostats in the two-month pilot exceeded the in-state collection prior to the program by more than five-fold.

Consistent with the findings in Maine, Indiana, and Oregon, a financial incentive coupled with adequate program advertising and convenient recycling can yield substantial increases in mercury thermostat recycling. There was a variety and often a combination of factors that motivated individuals to participate, including the cash incentive, convenient recycling, and environmental concerns. It was also clear that since many of the collected thermostats were in service at the time, this pilot provided motivation to make a change to an energy-conserving digital programmable thermostat.

Project Contact
Name Gary Gulka
Phone 802-241-3626
Project Keywords
Activity Keywords Funding and grants
Newsletter Northeast Assistance & Pollution Prevention News - Vol. 18 No. 1, Spring 2008 [PDF]


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