Disposing of Mercury Safely

A recent hazardous materials call involving Mercury clean-up has prompted the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department to advise local residents on the proper disposal of products or equipment containing Mercury, along with safety tips in handling those products.

According to Metro’s Assistant Chief Terry Flynn, “Mercury, in its many forms, is not an element to mess around with”. He states “Mercury is a silver liquid and is still found in equipment in our everyday life. Mercury was once used in a variety of household items, but we now know that Mercury is harmful to your health and the health of your family. How big a problem depends on the form of the mercury, how much is present, and who is being exposed to it, like a child or a pregnant woman”.

Household items such as the pendulum of antique grandfather clocks, barometers, thermometers, thermostats, and compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), that may contain mercury and can break. It is best to get rid of these items before they break and it’s important to dispose of them properly. Before heading off to the recycling site, you will want to make a Mercury carrier to protect the Mercury containing item from breaking during transport. Protect the item in double layer protection with paper towel or newspaper, contained in a second container such as an empty paint can, or plastic/metal coffee can.

Another option is contacting The Great Lakes Mercury Collection Program. This organization is providing free mercury collection services to residents and business in the State of Michigan. The free program will run through September 30, 2014. This is an on-going effort to collect and properly recycle mercury. The Environmental Quality Company will ensure proper recycling methods which will reduce the amount of mercury from entering our environment.

The program is easy. Upon request, EQ will send a free collection bucket with a shipping box to your door via common carrier. Each bucket contains easy-to-follow return instructions. Once the bucket is filled with the mercury containing device(s) it can safely be returned in the shipping box to EQ. Interested parties should call or email EQ for a free collection container 877-960-2025 or email [email protected].

For additional information on Mercury safety contact Admin Office at 231-947-3000.