Promote Low-Income Thermostat Recycling with TRC
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Promote Low-Income Thermostat Recycling with TRC

Posted Apr 20, 2018

Thermostat Recycling Corporation (TRC) and our members share a commitment to improve energy-efficiency nationwide.  By working together with the nation’s utilities, federal and state energy efficiency and environmental programs and other organizations, we know that we can improve lives and help create a more sustainable planet.  We have learned over the years that energy-efficiency and mercury- reduction best practices must go hand in hand, if we are to fully meet our commitments as stewards of the environment. 

This Earth Day we will be launching a new effort to collect and properly dispose of mercury-containing thermostats specifically from low-income residences.  It is important that low-income households have access to every opportunity there is to enjoy the energy and cost-saving benefits of energy efficiency best practices and to help create healthier and more resilient communities for their families.

Working with our member organizations and energy-efficiency programs nationwide, we stand ready to collect old mercury-containing thermostats as new thermostats are distributed and installed in these neighborhoods.  We plan to do this through the pursuit of a voluntary memorandum of understanding (MOU) between affected stakeholders.  The parties to this agreement would share a commitment to improve energy-efficiency nationwide and to reduce mercury emissions to the environment caused by the improper disposal and incineration of mercury-containing thermostats.  The agreement will attempt to couple the energy-efficiency assistance programs from commercial and residential premises.  Particularly through low-income programs such as the Weatherization Assistance Program (WAP) and Low-Income Housing Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).  By coordinating stakeholders through this MOU, the expectation is that all parties will achieve greater success and more quickly than if these groups proceed as independent efforts. 

The justification for this pursuit is unquestionable.  43% of Americans live in median household incomes of lower middle class, low income, and poverty representing 54.4 million households.  Based on historical collection trends, TRC has collected 42% of thermostats in mandated states residing in the EIA’s “Cold_Very-Cold” climate zone with income levels defined by lower middle class, low income, and poverty.  Energy costs in this sector have become a primary focus for the energy sector.  Sharing of costs between stakeholders will align all these programs to work more efficiently together. 

The question for you will be, how can you help educate, raise awareness, and ensure that low-income programs replacing thermostats recycle every single one of the units they are replacing.  For the sake of the health of both the environment and for the dignity of residents in these under-resourced communities, your commitment to answering the question depends on it. 

Please consider joining us this Earth Day in getting the message of recycling thermostats out there.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!