Delaware scrap and salvage dealers are asked to participate in a new national voluntary recycling program to remove and recycle mercury switches from pre-2003 vehicles before they are crushed and shredded – a process which can release mercury, a toxic metal, into the environment.
In an effort to reduce mercury releases, End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS), a non-profit corporation created by the auto industry to promote recycling, education, outreach and proper management of substances of concern, formed the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recycling Program (NVMSRP). The program was established in 2006 by an agreement of associations and individuals representing dismantlers, automotive steel and scrap industries, environmental groups, a national organization of state environmental officials and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Mercury switches can be found in convenience lights in automobile trunk and hood compartments and in anti-lock braking system (ABS) modules of some vehicles built before model year 2003. If these switches are not removed prior to the steel-melting process, the mercury can be emitted into the air where it eventually enters rivers and lakes. The presence of mercury in some Delaware fish has resulted in the issuance of health warnings about fish consumption.
By participating in the mercury switch recycling program, scrap and salvage dealers are eligible to receive, on a first-come, first-served basis, $1 for each mercury switch lighting assembly and $3 for each anti-lock braking system (ABS) module removed and submitted. Switches do not need to be removed from assemblies. Payments made for recycled switches from a $4 million fund began this year.
ELVS will send participants free of charge a mercury switch collection bucket, updated educational materials, a list of vehicles with the potential to contain mercury switches and a detailed instruction sheet on shipping full collection buckets, with postage paid and additional buckets available on request, also at no cost.
To join the program or obtain more information about it, please call 877-225-ELVS (3587) or visit www.elvsolutions.org. For more information on Delaware’s mercury switch collection program, please contact Robert Underwood, Pollution Prevention (P2) program manager, at 302-739-9403 or via email: Robert.Underwood@state.de.us.