A national hazardous waste recycling program to collect automotive switches containing mercury has attained the four and a half million switches collected milestone. This amount equals over five tons of mercury that has been diverted from landfills throughout the country where it would otherwise poison the environment through leeching into the earth, air, and groundwater.
The National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program was established to manage what happens to mercury switches once the automobile is no longer on the road. Automotive manufacturers ceased production of mercury switches in 2002, but millions are still present in older vehicles. The switches were used for lighting under the hood or in the trunk, and in anti-lock brakes. The goal of the program is to collect and recycle ninety percent of mercury switches by 2017.
When old vehicles are sent to junkyards and landfills, they are crushed or smelted, which releases the mercury into the environment and causes toxic conditions. The program provides special storage buckets for the collection of the switches to automotive recyclers and establishes routine collection of the materials through regional partners.
WasteCare Wants You to Remember: Mercury is considered a hazardous waste and needs to be carefully handled. Failure to do so puts you, your employees, and community at risk for mercury poisoning. If your business involves this toxic substance, be sure you’re up-to-date on best practices and regulations. Failure to do so can result in fines and significant health issues!