What do you do with household mercury in India?
September 28, 2009 3:07 AM   Subscribe

I would like to dispose of a thermometer that might contain mercury. What's the best way to do this, in India?

I'm living in Jaipur, Rajasthan. My roommate bought a cheap thermometer a week ago, but the liquid has separated and it doesn't seem to be responding to the freezer. I'm not sure if it's mercury-- it has gray-black liquid and a silver bulb, and it's unmarked. I'd like to get rid of the damn thing, but I'm not sure how to do so responsibly here, especially if it is a mercury thermometer.

Municipal waste management seems to consist of a bunch of dumpsters scattered throughout town. People and animals go through these dumpsters pretty regularly to scavange, so it seems like tossing it there is a really bad idea. I've been looking for some info on hazardous waste in the city, but haven't found much, aside from this dispiriting article.

What's the best thing to do with a thermometer in these conditions?
posted by bookish to Grab Bag (2 answers total)
Best answer: Leave it at a hospital. If necessary, don't tell anyone. Or, walk in and tell the people at the counter "hey, I found this thing out side, thought you'd want it back" and leave.

Two things will happen- maybe they need a thermometer and know how to fix it. Or they know how to dispose of it correctly.

I think the freezer trick only works if you can get it cold enough that all the fluid goes into the bulb. I seem to remember that shaking it down might work for bubble separation.
posted by gjc at 6:30 AM on September 28, 2009

Response by poster: The hospital thing is actually a really good idea. I'll give it a try!

(I did try shaking it down, also with no effect.)
posted by bookish at 6:37 PM on September 28, 2009

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