A new California law prohibits these items from being discarded as trash:
Lights, Batteries, and Electronics
- Fluorescent lamps and tubes. Includes fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps, metal halide lamps, and sodium vapor lamps.
- Batteries. Includes all batteries, AAA, AA, C, D, button cell, 9-volt, and all others, both rechargeable and single-use. Also lead-acid batteries such as car batteries.
- Computer and television monitors. Most monitors are currently considered hazardous waste when they have lived their life and are ready for recycling or disposal, including cathode ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal diode (LCD), and plasma monitors.
- Electronic devices. Includes computers, printers, VCRs, cell phones, telephones, radios, and microwave ovens. Refer to “How do I know if a particular electronic device can’t be thrown in the trash?” for more information.
- Electrical switches and relays. These typically contain about 3.5 grams of mercury each. Mercury switches can be found in some chest freezers, pre-1972 washing machines, sump pumps, electric space heaters, clothes irons, silent light switches, automobile hood and trunk lights, and ABS brakes.
- Thermostats that contain mercury. There is mercury inside the sealed glass “tilt switch” of the old style thermostats (not the newer electronic kind).
- Pilot light sensors. Mercury-containing switches are found in some gas appliances such as stoves, ovens, clothes dryers, water heaters, furnaces, and space heaters.
- Mercury gauges. Some gauges, such as barometers, manometers, blood pressure, and vacuum gauges contain mercury.
- Mercury thermometers. Mercury thermometers typically contain about a half gram of mercury. Many health clinics, pharmacies and doctor’s offices have thermometer exchange programs that will give you a new mercury-free fever thermometer in exchange for your old one.
- Mercury-added novelties. Examples include greeting cards that play music when opened; athletic shoes (made before 1997) with flashing lights in soles; and mercury maze games.