To help reduce energy use, all of us consumers have been encouraged to use compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) in our homes instead of incandescent ones. While CFLs have long lives, when they are used up they need to be recycled carefully because they contain, among other things, highly-polluting mercury. When released into the environment, mercury bioaccumulates (builds up in concentration over time in living organisms) and can cause serious nerve damage and other human health effects. Other products also contain mercury, like old thermostats.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), when products containing mercury are broken or thrown in the trash, outdoors, or down the drain, mercury cycles through the environment, polluting air and water, and accumulating in fish. The MassDEP has developed a website for residents to learn about mercury, including understanding its environmental and public health impacts, safely managing products and wastes that contain it, and finding out what state government is doing to reduce and ultimately eliminate the mercury threat.

The website also provides information about where to recycle mercury-added products, including a number of municipal collection locations.