MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Makers of thermostats that contain mercury will now be taking on greater responsibility for keeping their products out of the garbage and sewer system, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency announced Tuesday.

Starting this Friday, no product containing mercury will be allowed into solid waste or wastewater disposal systems, or solid waste processing or disposal facilities.

The law was enacted Gov. Mark Dayton and the Minnesota Legislature in 2014. It removes exemptions to the state’s existing bans on sale and disposal of products containing mercury.

Now, manufacturers will be held accountable for costs of collecting old mercury thermostats when they are replaced. The law also removes exemptions from the ban on sales of mercury thermometers, like those used for food research and processing. Those are now banned since the Food and Drug Administration no longer requires their use in such facilities.

Minnesota residents with mercury-containing products are now urged to take unwanted items to any household hazardous waste facility where most products will be accepted at no charge.

The law was sponsored by Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, and Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville.


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