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Starting on July 1, 2013 a new set of rules come into play to tackle the disposal of out-of-service thermostats containing mercury. These rules specifically target C-20 (Warm-Air Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning) and C-21 (Building Moving Demolition) license holders as they are seen as key links in the proper disposal of obsolete thermostats.

California no longer permits the sale of thermostats containing mercury; however, the Department of Toxic Substances (DTSC) estimates up to 10 million mercury thermostats are still in California businesses and homes.

The new rules require contractors to either: 1) place their license numbers on the thermostat container; or 2) provide their license numbers at the collection agency accepting the device.

The non-profit, industry-funded Thermostat Recycling Corporation operates about 350 collection sites in California. Contractors can find the nearest collection site by going to and filling in a ZIP code.

And don’t try to skirt the new rules. Collection sites are required to provide the number of mercury thermostats received and related contractor license numbers to the manufacturers. The manufacturers will, in turn, submit an annual report to the DTSC. The new system, and reports, will help identify contractors not participating under the rules.

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