April 1, 2005

Automakers help implement mercury switch recovery program

Washington, D.C. – The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has joined with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to launch a mercury switch collection program for end-of-life vehicles in that state. The purpose is to collect and recycle mercury-containing switches, used in convenience lights and ABS braking systems in older vehicles, before the cars are crushed.

The voluntary program will assist vehicle recyclers in removing the switches by providing them with supplies and easy-to-understand removal procedures. On average, many switches can be removed in as little as 48 seconds.

The Alliance, a trade association of nine car and light truck manufacturers, has worked with the MDEQ to produce a training video for recyclers, and is providing funding for supplies and transportation to designated disposal and recycling sites. Once the program is completed, the Alliance and MDEQ will participate in a joint evaluation of the project, including an assessment of the reliability and accuracy of reported switch recovery efforts.

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