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Satuit Hardware joins in mercury recycling

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 3, 2012 02:46 PM

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Satuit Hardware has become the latest environmental partner for the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, which asked the hardware store to accept more recyclable materials.

According to Phil Rose, the manager of the store, staffers have been collecting old light bulbs for years, and have recycled those at the transfer station while helping customers purchase new ones at the store.

“It was something we start to help people out,” Rose said.

Now, Satuit will also take old thermometers, thermostats, and other mercury-containing materials, such as fluorescent bulbs, and high-intensity discharge lamps.

“Most older thermostats contain 4 to 8 grams of mercury, a potent neurotoxin to which unborn and small children are especially sensitive. It is illegal to dispose of any mercury-containing product in the trash,” the recycling cooperative said in a release.

The store also accepts batteries.

Rose said the store can’t handle large amounts of recyclable equipment – there isn’t enough storage space, but he’s happy to take what he can.

In the first few days the program, a few people have already dropped off some items, Rose said.

The way it works, people can give store employees what they wish to be recycled, and the store will take it from there.

Scituate residents who have stickers to the Transfer Station are encouraged to bring their mercury-containing bulbs directly to the facility, but they also have the option of taking items to the hardware store.

The materials at the Transfer Station are transferred to Complete Recycling Solutions in Fall River. Covanta SEMASS, the facility that accepts Scituate residents’ trash, covers the cost.

According to the South Shore Recycling Cooperative, SEMASS has been a valuable partner in keeping mercury out of trash, which can have a huge impact.

“Keeping mercury out of the trash through recycling can make a real difference in our air and water quality. When a mercury-containing product is thrown into the trash, mercury vapors may be released into the air at the point of disposal or anywhere along the way to SEMASS,” representatives of the cooperative said in a release. “Eventually, the mercury falls with the rain into lakes and streams. Once in our waterways, mercury starts the journey up the food chain. Most people are exposed to mercury from eating contaminated fish.”

Rose said he believed most people were aware of the need to dispose of these items responsibly, and that those who don’t know are catching on.

“Even before there was an issue with mercury, we were taking [items] back for people. But with awareness, I think people are starting to realize what items that have mercury in them,” Rose said.

Items can be dropped off at Satuit Hardware, located at 1 Cole Parkway, during store hours.

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