Zyra International //// Mercury //// Site Index

How to Get Rid of some Mercury
Basic guidance on how to dispose of some liquid metal mercury that you don't want anymore:

If you would like to get rid of some mercury, perhaps a small jar of the stuff which you no longer require, here are a few things you should know:

* Mercury is not a waste product. Even though it is poisonous, it has its uses and many good purposes. There are people who want it, and it's up to you to find them.

* You can cash in scrap metal mercury at specialist scrap dealers. They'll pay you. You don't need to pay them!

* If anyone tells you horror stories about mercury being an official hazardous industrial waste problem which you are expected to pay to get rid of or else suffer severe legalistic criminal persecution, you should politely refuse to talk any further about it, and move on to find someone who considers it an asset rather than a liability.

* By far the best way to part with a small amount of liquid metal mercury is to put up a free advertisement somewhere! "For sale: liquid metal mercury" ... This is likely to do well as it's often the case that there as many people who want to part with some mercury as there are people who would like to get some mercury! There are many people who would like to acquire some mercury for their own personal experimental uses. Of those people, some of them are reasonably responsible. This page at Zyra's website is one of a matched pair of pages, the other being How to GET Some Mercury! Mercury is useful stuff, and there are interested people out there. (please note that I will not enter into mercury dealing, matching buyers to sellers, etc).

* If you manage to find someone who will take the mercury off your hands, you should take reasonable care in ensuring they are knowledgeable and responsible in what they are likely to do with it. It's also nice if the new mercury owners promise to do the right thing and absolve you of any problems in the unlikely eventuality that they might get it wrong. Helpful hint: There is an approximate correlation between knowledgeability and social responsibility. It doesn't always follow, but it usually does.

* DO NOT put mercury down the toilet, down the sink, into a hole in the ground, in the dustbin, in the sea, or any form of release into the environment. It will poison life for years to come. The atoms of mercury are chemically indestructible, and the mercury won't go away by dissolving it in anything. It just becomes a compound, and compounds are more toxic than the liquid metal which is relatively inert. A better plan is required. Giving it away to a scientifically interested person is far more recommended.

* If you are totally stuck with a problem of how to get rid of some mercury in an ethical way, get a phone book and look up the colleges and other educational establishments in your area. They have science departments, and your jar of mercury will be appreciated as an interesting donation to education. (A while ago, schools would have been interested in mercury, but I have it on good authority that mercury has been banned in UK schools, even in thermometers and barometers).

* How much is mercury worth in theory? There is an official price, quoted on the stock exchange, like there is for gold. It's quoted on the metals market, on the commodities market, and when searching for the price, you may find it's worth knowing that mercury is officially quoted per 76lb flask. Don't ask me what the current price is, but instead look up "mercury per 76lb flask". Last time I looked it was 700 dollars per flask. Industrial grade mercury is less valuable than the theoretical figure, and the price on the market has almost no bearing on the unofficial buying and selling or free transfer of small jam-jars of mercury for personal experiments, where the important thing is not the price, but trusting the other person has enough knowledge and good sense to do the right thing.

The writer of this page takes no liability for you doing the right or wrong things with mercury whether you follow the advice on this page or not! Do what you will, and at your own risk be it! Use common sense and personal responsibility! Also, it's up to you to dispose of mercury if that is what you intend to do. I'll not be a dating agency to match up mercury acquisition and disposal partners!