Thermostats Alternative ways to recycle Illegal in Garbage & Drains Contains Mercury Hazardous Waste Through the IWMA’s SLO Take Back Program, every retailer that sells mercury-added thermostats in San Luis Obispo County must take those items back from the public for free. Thermostats are sent from take back locations to be safely disposed of. The “SLO Take Back Program” is funded by a grant from the California Integrated Waste Management Board. If you are a business, check out this free thermostat recycling program. How to Check for Mercury Remove the thermostat’s cover and check if you see a bulb or vial that contains a silver, metallic liquid. If present, this liquid is mercury. Do Not Throw in the Garbage A thermostat that contains mercury should be disposed of as hazardous waste, so never throw them in the garbage. Smart and Digital Thermostats Are E-Waste Smart thermostats and digital thermostats need to be disposed of as e-waste. Alternative Ways to Recycle Return to an HVAC Wholesaler Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) wholesalers are required by law to accept mercury thermostats free of charge. Find collectors who will recycle your thermostat. Ways to Reduce Replace Mercury Thermostats Most thermostats are made without mercury now so they are less damaging to the environment and more energy efficient. Consider updating your thermostat to save energy, money and avoid a hazardous mercury spill.