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Mercury Switch Removal from Vehicles

Switch bucket for mercury switch disposal.

The Mercury Free Recycling Act establishes a program for the recycling of mercury switches removed from end-of-life vehicles.

Vehicle manufacturers have implemented a system for the collection and recovery of mercury switches used in trunk and hood lights, including an incentive payment to vehicle recyclers of $5 for each switch recovered. Many vehicles manufactured prior to 2003 contain mercury convenience switches.

What the law requires

  • All mercury containing switches from trunk and hood lights must be removed prior to delivery of the vehicle to the scrap recycling facility unless the switch is inaccessible due to damage to the vehicle.
  • Participation in the program is required for anyone that is in the business of acquiring, dismantling or destroying six or more vehicles in a calendar year for the primary purpose of resale of the vehicle's parts.
  • Vehicle manufacturers will reimburse vehicle recyclers for their labor to remove the mercury switches at the rate of $5 for each switch with a proper VIN number.
  • Mercury switches may not be stored for more than one year.

For Auto Recyclers:

How to get started - To receive a collection container, prepaid shipping label, and information on locating and removing the switches call toll free (877) 225 - ELVS or complete the Mercury Switch Collection Container Request form and mail it to ELVS at the address on the form. After signing up, you will receive information on locating and removing the mercury switches along with a storage container from the End-of-Life Vehicle Solutions Corporation (ELVS), an organization formed by auto manufacturers. Record the date the first switch was placed in the container on the Universal Waste label. As you collect the switches, record the VIN number of the vehicles on the log provided. Without the VIN numbers, you will not be able to collect the bounty.

Mercury containing ABS G-force sensors may also be removed and sent with the switches from trunk and hood lights for proper recycling at no cost, however no bounty will be paid for them. Leaking mercury switches, mercury switches from appliances, containers of mercury or any other hazardous substance should not be included in the collection container. To locate a facility for the proper disposal of any of these or any other hazardous material, please visit www.safesmartsolutions.org or contact the DNR.

Shipping and payment - When the container is full or one year from the start date on the label, use the prepaid shipping label provided with the collection container and schedule a pickup with UPS. (Information on how to do this will be provided with the container). A replacement container will be sent to you. Once ELVS verifies that the VIN numbers are from vehicles that contain mercury switches you will receive $5 for each mercury switch. The bounty will not be paid for switches do not have a VIN or have a VIN of a vehicle that did not contain mercury switches.

End-of-Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) - ELVS was created by the automotive industry to promote the industry's environmental efforts in recyclability, education and outreach, and the proper management of substances of concern. ELVS manages, on a nationwide basis, programs to collect, transport, retort, recycle, or dispose of elemental mercury from automotive switches. They also provide educational outreach and promote vehicle recycling and proper management of substances of concern.
For more information, visit the ELVS website

End of Life Vehicle Solutions (ELVS) Annual Reports:

DNR Contact
Theresa Stiner
515-281-8646
Theresa.Stiner @dnr.iowa.gov


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