Stores collecting mercury-containing thermostats

South Okanagan residents can safely dispose of their old mercury-containing thermostats next week at Canadian Tire stores.

South Okanagan residents can safely dispose of their old mercury-containing thermostats next week at Canadian Tire stores.

Anyone replacing an existing thermostat or upgrading an HVAC system is encouraged to take advantage of this free collection and responsible recycling event at Canadian Tire stores between Oct. 8 and 15.

Many old thermostats contain mercury that, when disposed of in regular household waste, end up in landfills where the mercury can contaminate the air, soil and water. In addition to taking back old thermostats that contain mercury, the events will also accept programmable thermostats in order to make sure all materials are effectively diverted from landfill and recycled.

In addition to offering free and responsible recycling for all end-of-life thermostats, the October events will also offer 20 to 50 per cent off a range of new, energy-efficient thermostats for sale at Canadian Tire stores, and a chance for participants to win one of three $100 Canadian Tire gift cards. New thermostats are more efficient in terms of energy use — saving participants up to $180 a year on heating and cooling costs.

“Canadian Tire is proud to be a partner in this initiative to help our customers save money, reduce energy and divert waste from landfills,” said Tyler Elm, Canadian Tire vice-president of business sustainability.

These events are a part of Switch the ‘Stat, a B.C. Stewardship Program that is administered by the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada and delivered by Summerhill Impact. The Switch the ‘Stat program currently has 135 year-round, ongoing collection facilities in B.C.

“HRAI is proud to offer this valuable industry-led program in British Columbia and throughout Canada,” says Warren Heeley, president of HRAI. “In addition to offering homeowners an easy and responsible option for managing end-of-life thermostats, it also provides the HVAC industry as a whole an opportunity to demonstrate their support of environmental best practices.”

The importance of taking part in these events shouldn’t be underestimated. According to Environment Canada, just one gram of mercury can contaminate an eight hectare lake to the point where the fish are inedible for an entire year.

“By taking advantage of this simple and convenient program, B.C. residents can make a tremendous difference in terms of the quality of the environment both locally and globally, since mercury is toxic, bio-accumulative and can travel thousands of kilometers once released,” said Fatima Crerar, executive director of Summerhill Impact.