Members of Heating, Airconditioning & Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) in Connecticut are stepping up efforts to collect mercury thermostats through a partnership with the Product Stewardship Institute. The goal is to collect more than 500 mercury thermostats in the Bridgeport, CT area this heating season. HARDI members in Bridgeport and surrounding communities are putting mercury thermostat collection bins in their stores and encouraging contractors to use them to recycle every mercury thermostat they remove.

The following HARDI members have stepped up to take a leadership role on mercury thermostat collections:

• New England Heating Supply, Bridgeport

• R.E. Michael Co., Stratford

• Shelton Winair Co., Shelton

• Sid Harvey’s, Stratford

• Torrington Supply Co, Stratford

• Johnstone Supply, Milford

Mercury is a toxic metal that contaminates fish and the environment. While mercury thermostats are no longer sold in Connecticut, their long lifespan means many are still in use in Bridgeport homes and businesses. According to the Product Stewardship Institute, each mercury thermostat contains an average of 4 grams of mercury, more than one thousand times the amount contained in a compact fluorescent light bulb.

Bridgeport, CT has been selected for this national pilot program to demonstrate how best to boost collections of out-of-service thermostats that contain mercury. HARDI members have long supported mercury thermostat collection efforts through the manufacturer-funded Thermostat Recycling Corporation in which HVAC distributors act as collection points for waste thermostats for no-cost shipping and recycling. Many members have bins in their stores already. The project is reaching out to every HARDI member in the Bridgeport area to engage them in this program.

This project is run by the Product Stewardship Institute, a national organization working to reduce the environmental and health impacts of consumer products. It has the support of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority, and the Bridgeport Department of Public Facilities.

While this project targets collections in Bridgeport, HVACR distributors nationwide can join many HARDI members already collecting mercury thermostats by contacting the Thermostat Recycling Corporation (call toll-free 800-238-8192 or visit www.thermostat-recycle.org) and requesting a thermostat recycling bin.

For information about the Bridgeport collection program, contact Jennifer Nash, PSI, at Jennifer@productstewardship.us or (617) 236-4853.

For information about HARDI, contact Talbot Gee at tgee@hardinet.org or (614) 345-4328.

The Product Stewardship Institute is a national non-profit membership-based organization located in Boston, Massachusetts. PSI works with state and local government agencies to partner with manufacturers, retailers, environmental groups, federal agencies, and other key stakeholders to reduce the health and environmental impacts of consumer products. PSI takes a unique product stewardship approach to solving waste management problems by encouraging product design changes and mediating stakeholder dialogues.

The Heating, Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Distributors International (HARDI) represents over 450 wholesale companies, including 11 international companies, plus over 300 manufacturing associates and nearly 140 manufacturer representatives. It is estimated that HARDI members represent 80 percent of the dollar value of the HVACR products sold through distribution.