Credit: Flickr / Colin Purrington

Recycle your old mercury-containing thermostats at Vancouver's Terminal Ave Home Depot this weekend


This Saturday and Sunday Home Depot is inviting Vancouver residents to bring in their old mercury-containing thermostats for safe recycling and offering discounts on newer energy-efficient models in Switch the ‘Stat.

Switch the 'Stat

November 6–7, 2010

9–4 p.m.

The Home Depot

900 Terminal Ave, Vancouver

Info | Map | Facebook


Each old thermostat contains about 2.5–10 grams of mercury; when disposed of in landfills, that mercury contaminates the soil, air and eventually the water. It only takes 1 gram to contaminate an 8-hectare lake, so if you suspect you have an older thermostat, this weekend could be your opportunity to recycle it responsibly.


Mercury is a toxic heavy metal found naturally in the environment in small quantities, but through years of human industry, such as mining, chemical manufacturing and coal burning, mercury levels have elevated. Once in water, mercury transforms into a highly noxious form of the chemical, rendering fish poisonous to those who ingest them. Toxic to the nervous system and kidneys, mercury produces anxiety and depression, and affects memory, thinking and coordination. Mercury poisoning is particularly harmful on children, having been proven to retard brain development.


Switch the 'Stat

Old thermostats contain glass vials filled with liquid mercury, which can contaminate the air, soil and water if disposed of in landfills. Image: Flickr / riffsyphon1024


By switching your thermostat, not only will you be preventing mercury from entering the waste stream and contaminating the environment, but new programmable digital thermostats may offer more control in efficiently heating and cooling your home, translating into big savings while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


Replacing an old thermostat and installing a new one is a DIY project that takes less than an hour; assistance will be available at Home Depot this weekend to answer questions on how to install new thermostats to ease the switch.


Since April 2006, Switch the 'Stat has recovered 37,123 mercury-containing thermostats, diverting 137.04 kilograms of mercury from landfills.


If you can't make it this weekend, try one of these thermostat drop-off locations to switch your 'stat at another time.




Michelle Kay is a citizen of the world. Aside from creative writing, she has an affinity for activism, concept art, film and choreography. Read one of Michelle's short stories here.