Mercury Recovery Program

This program is intended to remove mercury from the residential waste stream and educate residents about the potential hazards posed by mercury found in common household items such as thermometers or thermostats. The focus of the program will be to divert liquid mercury, which is its most concentrated form.

Common household items that may contain mercury include:

Residents will be given one FREE digital thermometer if any of these items are brought to any of the Region’s three waste management facilities or to any of the Region’s Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste collection events.

Only household items will be accepted for exchange.
A limit of one thermometer per day per vehicle applies.
Exchange does not apply to fluorescent bulbs or button batteries.

Characteristics of Mercury

Liquid mercuryMercury-containing items should be treated as Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste and should not be thrown in the garbage bag. Liquid mercury should never be poured down the drain. Learn more from Environment Canada.


Why do I need to replace my mercury thermometer?

mercury thermometer Newer thermometers are much safer to use in your home. Some residents may still have the older type of thermometer that contains mercury. They are considered a Municipal Hazardous or Special Waste if they break, as they can release liquid mercury into your home and the environment.


How can I tell if my measuring device contains mercury?

thermometer Choose the item you have from the list below, the item you have to see the description and to identify properties of mercury. This will help determine if your measuring device contains mercury.

How to transport and dispose of mercury-containing devices

Handle with care. When transporting any mercury-containing device for proper disposal, place it into a sealable plastic bag or sealed plastic container with a lid. DO NOT remove the mercury vials from the device. All mercury-containing devices can be brought to any of the Region’s three waste management facilities.

What to do if you have a spill

Visit the Environment Canada website for proper cleanup and handling information.

Other items that contain liquid mercury

There are several types of tilt switches in appliances, vehicles and other consumer products that use mercury.

* Qualified Durham Region staff will safely remove and handle tilt switches at the Region’s waste management facilities. Do not try to remove them yourself.

Where does the collected mercury go?

All mercury-containing devices are safely shipped to Aevitas Inc. for recycling. The mercury collected is reused in mercury lighting, reducing the need for mercury mining. While the amount of mercury needed for use in bulbs and batteries has been reduced, it is still necessary to use mercury in some products.