Safely replace mercury thermostats

Until Oct. 15, all British Columbia do-it-yourselfers and home improvement gurus are being called to action in the fight against harmful mercury pollution.

  • Oct. 14, 2011 8:00 p.m.

Until Oct. 15, all British Columbia do-it-yourselfers and home improvement gurus are being called to action in the fight against harmful mercury pollution.

Anyone replacing an existing thermostat or upgrading an HVAC system is encouraged to take advantage of this free collection and responsible recycling event at Canadian Tire stores province-wide, while also obtaining a discount on safer, energy-efficient models.

Many old thermostats contain mercury that, when disposed of in regular household waste, end up in landfills where the mercury can contaminate the air, soil and water. In addition to taking back old thermostats that contain mercury, the events will also accept programmable thermostats in order to make sure all materials are effectively diverted from the landfill and recycled.

In addition to offering free and responsible recycling for all end-of-life thermostats, the October events will also offer 20 to 50 per cent off a range of new, energy efficient thermostats for sale at Canadian Tire stores, and a chance for participants to win one of three $100 Canadian Tire gift cards. These events are a part of Switch the ‘Stat, a B.C. stewardship program that is administered by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) and delivered by Summerhill Impact. The Switch the ‘Stat program currently has 135 year-round, ongoing collection facilities in British Columbia that include professional HVAC contractors and wholesalers who collect end-of-life thermostats when performing upgrades on residential and commercial heating and cooling systems.

“HRAI is proud to offer this valuable industry-led program in British Columbia and throughout Canada,” says Warren Heeley, president of HRAI.

According to Environment Canada, just one gram of mercury can contaminate an eight-hectare lake to the point where the fish are inedible for an entire year. “By taking advantage of this simple and convenient program, B.C. residents can make a tremendous difference in terms of the quality of the environment both locally and globally, since mercury is toxic, bio-accumulative and can travel thousands of kilometers once released,” says Fatima Crerar, executive director of Summerhill Impact.

For more information visit www.switchthestat.ca.

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