Seal of Dane County County of Dane
County Executive's Office

Recycle Mercury Thermostates to Protect the Environment, Human Health

September 24, 2004
John Reindl, 267-8815 Sharyn Wisniewski, 267-8823
County Executive

NOTE: Photos showing the interior of common thermostats with the vials of mercury in them can be emailed to you upon request. Contact Sharyn Wisniewski at or 267-8823. As summer turns to fall, many people think about upgrading their heating system in preparation for winter, including replacing old thermostats. Many old thermostats have mercury in them, which can cause serious environmental and health problems if not properly handled. Mercury is a toxic metal that can harm the nervous system and other organs. “Old thermostats are the single largest source of mercury in our homes and businesses,” said Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk. “Fortunately, we have developed readily available alternatives to recycle this mercury so that the environment and human health are protected.” In the first six months of this year, over 1,000 thermostats have been recycled in Dane County at thermostat wholesalers under a program paid for by the thermostat manufacturers and at the County Clean Sweep center. More recently, retailers of thermostats have also started collecting them for recycling. Each mercury thermostat has an average of 4 grams of mercury in it, which could pollute a typical 80-acre lake or a volume of 20 million gallons of water enough to result in a fish consumption advisory for a year. Dane County residents and businesses discard an estimated 14,000 thermostats a year, containing enough mercury to pollute 140 lakes the size of Lake Monona each year. Because of mercury build-up in fish, the state has issued fish consumption advisories for all lakes and streams in Wisconsin. Because of the toxicity of the metal, disposal of mercury products into Dane County landfills is illegal. In Dane County, there are 23 locations that accept old thermostats for recycling, with two-thirds of these programs accepting them for no charge. Recycling locations in Dane County for thermostats and other materials can also be found on the Dane County web page at Click on the recycling symbol in the lower part of the page and then click on the listing for “Recycling Drop-off Centers for Special Materials. Thermostat Recycling Locations In Dane County Name Address City Zip Phone Price Ace Hardware 320 N Midvale Blvd Madison 53705 441-6900 Charge Ace Hardware-Meadowood 5726 Raymond Rd Madison 53711 271-9799 Charge Dane County Clean Sweep 2302 Fish Hatchery Road Madison 53713 294-5358 Free Dane Lumber & Home Center Hwy 113 Dane 53529 849-5515 Free Dorn Hardware 1348 S Midvale Blvd Madison 53711 274-2511 Charge Dorn Hardware 127 N Broom Madison 53703 256-0530 Charge Dorn True Value Hardware 938 W Main Sun Prairie 53590 837-2110 Charge Dorn True Value Hardware 209 Cottage Grove Rd Madison 53716 222-5511 Charge First Supply Madison 6800 Gisholt Drive Madison 53713 222-7799 Free Gustave A. Larson Co. 4537 Pflaum Road Madison 53718 221-3301 Free Jim’s Heating & Air Conditioning 580 Enterprise Avenue Belleville 53508 424-6518 Free Madison Gas & Electric Co. 133 S Blair Street Madison 53703 252-7117 Free Mazo Hardware Hank 15 Brodhead Mazomanie 53560 795-9919 Free Meikle's True Value Hardware Inc 2865 N Sherman Avenue Madison 53704 241-1541 Charge Menard’s 6401 Copps Ave Madison 53716 224-2483 Free Menard’s 430 Commerce Drive Madison 53719 829-4683 Free Menard's 2102 East Springs Drive Madison 53704 245-2321 Free Premier Cooperative 501 W Main Mount Horeb 53572 437-3071 Charge Wal-Mart 7202 Watts Road Madison 53719 276-9393 Free Warren Heating And Air Conditioning 916 Williamson Madison 53703 256-2391 Free Contractors Only Climatic Control Co. 1018 Stewart Street Madison 53713 273-1717 Free Johnstone Supply 4237 Argosy Court Madison 53714 223-1499 Free Temperature Systems Inc 930 Stewart Street Madison 53713 271-7500 Free Thermostat recyclers are also listed on the Dane County web page. Go to, and then click on the recycling symbol at the bottom. The locations are found under the heading of drop-off centers for special materials. # # #