Did you know that mercury is the only common metal that is a liquid when at room temperature?
Mercury is a highly toxic metal, and while mercury thermometers aren’t as common as they once were, odds are you have other items at your business or office that contain mercury.
It is important to know what items contain mercury and how to facilitate mercury disposal safely. Whether it is a mercury spill or a broken fluorescent lightbulb, mercury can’t go into the regular trash since it is hazardous waste.
Continue reading to learn more about the mercury disposal process and how to prevent mercury from entering the waste collection.
How To Clean Up and Dispose of Mercury
There are a number of common items that would surprise you when it comes to containing mercury. From jewelry and car parts to modern electronics and thermometers, mercury is common.
This is why it is important that you recycle your electronics rather than throw them away with your regular trash. The process of cleaning up a mercury spill is complicated and, if not handled properly, can grow much worse.
Handling a Mercury Spill
When you spill mercury the last thing you want to do is try to vacuum it. This releases mercury into the air and creates a dangerous situation because it spreads the mercury even further.
It is also a bad idea to dispose of mercury by pouring it down the drain. Doing this will clog your drain and pollute the sewer system with mercury. You’ll also run the risk of spreading the mercury into drinking water.
Another thing that you should never do is wash clothes that are contaminated with mercury. Doing this will contaminate your washing machine and anything that the clothes were washed with. Even worse, if you use a clothes dryer it will spread the mercury into the air.
The Process of Mercury Disposal
When mercury spills it is important to clear everyone out of the building or office. Do everything you can to keep people from walking through the mercury spill on the way out, as this will further the spread.
After you’ve done that, open all of the windows and doors to the outside and shut all interior doors in the building or office. Whatever you do, don’t allow children to assist with mercury disposal as it is very harmful to humans.
The good news is that there are surfaces that make mercury clean-up a much easier task. If mercury gets spilled on linoleum, wood, or tile the clean-up will be much simpler than if the spill occurs on a carpet or a rug.
From there, you’ll want to clean up any sharp objects involved with the mercury spill. Then look for beads of mercury and use a squeegee or cardboard to help with gathering them into small balls of mercury.
Then start using an eyedropper to collect the balls of mercury that you’ve created. You’ll proceed from there by slowly squeezing the mercury out of the eyedropper and onto a damp paper towel. Place the paper towel into a ziplock bag and label it.
Once you’ve cleaned up all of the mercury, you’ll want to place everything used for the mercury cleanup into a trash bag. Be sure to label the trash bag and place it outside.
The last step of the mercury cleanup involves contacting your local health department, waste authority, or your local fire department. They’ll handle the rest of the disposal process for you.
You’re Ready To Handle Mercury Disposal
Mercury spills are dangerous and require an intense cleanup process, but it is important to the health of everyone that mercury disposal is done right. Proper mercury disposal will keep you and your employees safe and healthy.
Are you in need of help with mercury disposal or getting rid of hazardous waste? Click here to get in touch with the folks at Cleanlites Recycling and take care of your mercury spill today.