Mercury Minimization

Mercury is a versatile, natural element and has traditionally been used in many products, processing operations, and applications. If handled properly, mercury can be both beneficial and safe. However, if handled improperly even small amounts can be harmful to humans and wildlife.

Mercury emits vapor contaminating the air which eventually settles into surface water and groundwater where microorganisms can change it into methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury. Methylmercury builds up in fish, shell-fish and animals that eat fish and is the main source of exposure to humans.

Mercury Cycle in the Environment

The following graphic shows how mercury is produced and moves through the environment.

Info graphic showing how mercury moves through the environment Opens in new window

Image source:

How to Recycle and Dispose of Items that Contain Mercury

Many common consumer products contain mercury including antiques, appliances, automotive parts, barometers, batteries, electronics, light bulbs, thermometers, and thermostats. Visit the EPA web page for more details.

Recycling mercury-containing products is one of the best ways to help prevent mercury releases to the environment by keeping these products out of landfills and incinerators. Once landfilled, mercury from the products may end up in groundwater, and potentially in sources of drinking water.  Once incinerated, mercury may end up in the air.

Several local businesses accept items that contain mercury. Visit and enter your zip code to locate mercury recycling locations. Be sure to call the business and confirm that they accept the item you want to recycle.

Learn more about Storing, Transporting and Disposing of Mercury.

More Information About Mercury

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) offers many resources about mercy. Visit to learn more.