Recycling a mercurial thermometer

Archived Q&A and Reviews

April 2005

Does anyone know where I can recycle some mercurial thermometers in the Berkeley area? Better yet, is there a program that will trade your thermometer for an environmentally friendly one? thanks!

I'm so glad you asked!! You just need to find your local Household Haz Waste (HHW) facility -- is a great resource to find an HHW anywhere in the country. Just type in your zip code on the top left corner and then choose ''household hazardous waste''. The site can be slow sometimes, so you hafta be patient.

This is what pulled up for 94712 in Berkeley: ''Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste Program [Municipal] This service is available to residents of ALAMEDA County. SAN LEANDRO, CA Phone: (800) 606-6606 Days/Hours: Please call for hours of operation. Distance: 1 mile(s) Location Notes: This facility has locations in Hayward, Oakland, and Livermore. Please call for more information.''

Thanks for being aware that mercury containing items are indeed HAZARDOUS wastes and should be disposed of accordingly! Other mercury containing items that you should take to an HHW include flouescent lightbulbs, thermostats and even light-up tennis shoes. Your local sewer district (EBMUD) spends lots of effort on Mercury outreach, and will be glad to answer any questions you may have about HHW. EBMUD does do a thermometer exchange, as do most water and sewer districts in the Bay Area. HHW lady

To exchange a thermometer or get rid of old medicine, go to this website: tion2.cfm They are having an exchange on April 30. Anon

Mercury thermometers can be dropped off at the Alameda County Household Hazardous Waste locations in Oakland, Hayward or Livermore. Mercury is also present in fluorescent light bulbs, wall thermometers, some brands of flashing light kids sneakers, paint made before 1991, and more. See for good reading. Check out the Stop Waste website for local dropoff dates. For general recycling information try my recycling website at Bryce Nesbitt

At the Green Home Expo, there will be a mercury thermometer swap (along with a lightbulb exchange, oil change kits, free giveaways and more). It's in Berkeley at the Civic Center Park on Saturday, April 30th, from 12-5 pm. Free! For more info go to Amber

If you live in Alameda County, you can drop it off for recycling at the Hazardous Waste facility at 2100 East 7th St. in Oakland. See their website for dates/times. It's not exactly convenient, but maybe you also have some paint cans and other stuff you want to clean out at the same time. Local governments periodically run trade-in programs, but the only on-going one I know of is for SF residents. Hopefully someone else has a lead on one in the East Bay. JP

They used to have a program the the UCSF Bookstore where you could trade one for the other. I don't know if it's still on. JM

A few weeks back, EBMUD with Save The Bay (or something like that) had a thermometer exchange set up at the Walgreens across from Berkeley Bowl. It was just for 1 day, and I ran into it by chance. They would trade your old mercury thermometer for a digital one. Maybe a call to EBMUD or a visit to their website would tell you more. There's also a disposal center for hazardous household waste in Oakland (on E. 7th St.). You could find out about that through Wate Management. Mara

Green Home Expo - Saturday April 30th (noon to 5pm) at Berkeley Civic Center Park. Free drop off for computers, monitors, cell phones, expired medicines, household batteries and FREE MERCURY THERMOMETER EXCHANGE for a digital thermometer. Free event. Also workshops such as lead-safe painting and remodelling. lyn dailey ldailey [at]

i'm not sure this will help, though i visited montclair presbyterian church and they were doing a thermometer exchange...they might have more or know how you might recycle yours. their number is 339.1131. or of course try contacting the ecology center... 2530 San Pablo #548.3402 jessica

On April 30, 12-5, you can recycle mercury thermometers at the Berkeley GreenHome Expo (near farmers market). They will give you an electronic one in exchange. R.K.

You can recyle them this Saturday, April 30, at the 2005 GREEN HOME EXPO in Civic Center Park, downtown Berkeley, next to Saturday Farmers' Market. You'll get a free digital thermometer in exchange.