Dental & Medical

How to recycle thermostats, thermometers and sphygmomanometers

Recycling Sphygmomanometers

When you last had your blood pressure measured, how was it done? Automatic, digital devices are increasingly taking over this task but there are still large numbers of old sphygmomanometers (that’s what devices used to measure blood pressure are called) doing good service in medical clinics and hospitals around the world.

Many of these older devices contain quite large amounts of mercury, so when upgrade time rolls around it’s critical that they are safely recycled and the mercury recovered.

Thermometers are another significant source of mercury, particularly those used in laboratories and industry. With its silvery, metallic sheen showing through the glass, it’s pretty obvious which thermometers contain mercury but the same can’t be said for thermostats.

While thermostats that contain mercury are relatively rare, and usually found in industry rather than the home, it may not be obvious that they contain mercury. Anyone disposing of these devices needs to take care to check with the manufacturer if mercury is a component. If it is, proper disposal needs to be arranged.

Quantity counts

Manometers, thermometers and thermostats are just some of the items that can contain great quantities of mercury. And while they may be relatively few in number, compared to the many hundreds of thousands of fluorescent lamps we recycle, what they lack in number they more than make up for in mercury content. Just one sphygmomanometer, for example, can contain more mercury than a thousand fluorescent tubes.

Managing the mercury

Manometers, thermometers, thermostats or other items that contain large quantities of mercury present a management problem for the organisations that own them. Systems need to be put in place for managing any accidental spills and for the ultimate disposal of these devices. Unfortunately, it remains all too common that the solution to any waste problem is just to toss it in the rubbish bin.

If your organisation possesses any mercury-containing devices, do all the relevant people know about them? Is there a clear policy on how to dispose of them and do employees know what that policy is? Is it easy to comply with?


Recycle your mercury-containing devices with Ecocycle

Ecocycle provides simple mercury recycling solutions for a wide range of mercury-containing devices. Whether you need a one-off pickup or are producing an ongoing stream of mercury-containing waste, our experts can help. Give us a call on 1300 32 62 92 or complete the form below to find out how we can work together to prevent mercury pollution.

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