Thermostats Illegal in Garbage, Recycling & Drains Contains Mercury Hazardous Waste How to Check for Mercury Remove the thermostat’s cover and check if you see a bulb or vial that contains a silver, metallic liquid. If present, this liquid is mercury. Do Not Throw in the Garbage A thermostat that contains mercury should be disposed of as hazardous waste, so never throw them in the garbage. Smart and Digital Thermostats Are E-Waste Smart thermostats and digital thermostats need to be disposed of as e-waste. Ways to Reduce Replace Mercury Thermostats Most thermostats are made without mercury now so they are less damaging to the environment and more energy efficient. Consider updating your thermostat to save energy, money and avoid a hazardous mercury spill.