Mercury Programs

Product stewardship is the concept that recognizes that all parties involved in the lifecycle of a product are responsible for minimizing the environmental impacts of that product. The greater the ability an entity has to minimize a product's life-cycle impacts, the greater is its degree of responsibility, and opportunity, for addressing those impacts.

Product stewardship solutions for products that contain mercury share the costs of managing this chemical before it ends up in the waste stream. Some product stewardship solutions include phasing out the use of mercury in products, redesigning products to contain less mercury, requiring manufacturers to disclose to the public that their products contain mercury, labeling products that contain mercury and establishing mercury product take back and retirement programs. Consumers can voice their concerns by requesting mercury-free products from the manufacturer and by making informed purchasing decisions.

Materials Selection and Design

Manufacturers can design products without mercury. Cost effective mercury-free products already exist such as digital thermometers, alcohol (red bulb) thermometers, electronic thermostats, electronic switches, automotive switches and headlights, mechanical switches, medical devices and composite fillings. Learn more about mercury-free alternatives.

Product Take Back

Manufacturers can take back products that contain mercury at the end of their lives. Mercury thermometer exchanges have been conducted with pharmacies, hospitals and clinics in partnership with local governments. There is an organization that helps to recycle thermostats, read more about it on our Business Takeback pages. Also check out the NWPSC activities for information on Takeback programs. Learn more about takeback Policies & Legislation relating to Mercury.



The NWPSC efforts in mercury product stewardship are supported by the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King CountyPortland MetroSeattle Public UtilitiesKing County Department of Natural Resources, Solid Waste Division,Snohomish County Solid Waste DivisionKitsap County Solid Waste Division.