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General Questions:

Are ELVS and the NVMSRP the same thing?
No, ELVS is a partner in the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program (NVMSRP) and ELVS provides the collection, transportation, and educational materials for the NVMSRP. For more information on the NVMSRP, please click on the NVMSRP tab.

How do I enroll in ELVS/NVMSRP?
You can enroll via this website (click on Program Enrollment tab) or call our toll free number: 877.225.3587.

How do I obtain my first ELVS collection bucket?
Upon enrollment, a collection bucket will be shipped to you via UPS. Your first collection bucket will include educational materials, pre-paid return shipping label and shipping instructions.

Why do I need to provide both a shipping and US Postal address?
Buckets are shipped directly to the yard via UPS. If you receive normal mail at a different USPS address or PO Box, we need that in order to mail program updates and in some states, checks.

Where can I find information about what vehicles have mercury switches?
Simply click on the Educational Materials tab. All of the information is also available for download and will also be included in your initial enrollment bucket.

How many vehicles contain mercury switches?
About 1/3 of the 2002 and older domestic vehicles may contain a mercury switch. Vehicles newer than 2002 model year do not contain mercury switches except for a 2003 Jeep Wrangler which may have a mercury containing ABS module.

What switches do you accept in the buckets?
ELVS only accepts automotive mercury switches from the vehicles listed in our educational materials. No other form of mercury (thermostats, thermometers, liquid mercury, appliance switches) is permitted in the ELVS buckets.

What size buckets are available?
Small (1.25 gallon) and large (3.5 gallon)

How many switches will fit in a bucket?
Approximately 130-150 switch assemblies will fit in a large bucket and 30-50 assemblies in a small bucket. Recyclers may return either whole switch assemblies or just the mercury containing pellets from convenience light assemblies, Pellets contained in ABS or Airbag modules must remain within the assembly but pellets may be removed from light housing and returned as pellets. The small bucket will easily hold well over 450 pellets –they will only fill about ¼ of the bucket but 450 per bucket is the maximum number that can be placed in a bucket.

Is there a maximum number of switches per bucket?
Yes. Universal Waste regulations prohibit shipping more than 1 pound of mercury in a single bucket. This equals a maximum of 450 switch pellets per bucket.

Service Questions:

Do I get an automatic replacement bucket when I send a bucket in?
No, you must contact our waste contractor, EQ, at 734.547.2511 and leave a voice mail requesting a replacement bucket, or via e-mail ( Be sure to leave your company name, phone, shipping address, and bucket size in your voice mail. We recommend doing this 10 days before you are ready to send in a full bucket.

How do I get a replacement bucket/box/UPS pre-paid label?
We do not provide separate boxes or UPS shipping labels. Calling EQ at 734.547.2511 and leaving a voice mail requesting a replacement bucket will get you a bucket, box, and UPS label. If you have lost your original box or shipping label, you can use the ones that come with the replacement buckets.

How can I reach ELVS?
ELVS can be reached at our toll-free number 877.225.3587 and leave a voice mail or via our email address:

Is there a cost for the bucket or for shipping?
No. ELVS provides the buckets and shipping at no cost to recyclers.

Why do I need to keep the box?
Buckets are shipped via UPS and UPS requires uniformity in its shipments. All buckets must be placed in a cardboard box for shipping. If you have lost your original box, you may use the box that comes when you order your replacement bucket.

What happens to the mercury switches after I return them?
EQ recycles the mercury through the following approved recycling/retorting centers: Bethlehem, Mercury Waste Solutions, Veoila, and AERC.

Do you accept mercury devices that don’t come from automobiles?
No! We can only accept automotive mercury switches in the ELVS buckets. If you have other forms of mercury, please contact your state environmental department for information on how to properly dispose of non-automotive mercury. State contacts are available by clicking your state on the ELVS map.

Do you provide training on how to remove mercury switches?
Our educational material showing the location of the switches and removal instructions are included in every initial collection bucket. The same information is available on the website under the Educational Materials tab. There is also a short video on the web site that demonstrates removal.

Am I liable if mercury leaks from switches that I send in?
Not as long as you package the switches according to the shipping instructions that are included in every bucket. Please note that exceeding the 450 pellet limit per bucket voids any indemnification.

Incentive Questions:

Do you buy the switches?
No, we do not buy switches from recyclers.

Is there an incentive for turning in switches?
Some states require incentives be paid to recyclers for automotive mercury switches. However in the majority of the states, there is no incentive payment.

What states provide for an incentive?
Maine, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Utah have legislated bounties for switches. Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington have state funded programs to provide incentives ranging from cash or tax credit.

Are incentives considered income?
Yes. IRS considers cash incentive payments to be income to the recycler and in order to receive payment; recyclers must complete and return a W-9 tax form.

Regulatory Questions:

What is Universal Waste?
Universal Waste is a category of waste materials not designated as “hazardous waste” but containing materials that need to be prevented from release into the environment. Automotive mercury switches are considered Universal Waste and can be shipped as Universal Waste as long at the one pound limit (450 switches) is not exceeded per bucket.

Am I required to remove mercury switches from automobiles that I process?
Many states mandate recyclers to pull mercury switches before a vehicle is crushed, shredded or sent for processing. To determine your state requirements, click on your state on the map found on the ELVS mercury switch home page.

How long can I keep switches at my yard and when do I need to ship my bucket to ELVS?
In most states, Universal Waste regulations allow one year from the date the first switch was put into the bucket. You should always check with your state’s environmental agency. State contacts can be found by clicking your state on the ELVS map.

Is there a limit of how many switches I can ship in one bucket?
Yes. One pound of mercury (450 switches/pellets/bullets) is the limit per bucket.

How do I package the switches for shipment?
1. Included in your bucket is a plastic bucket liner. Line bucket with the plastic bag before placing your switches inside the bucket.
2. Once the bucket is full, tie the liner in a knot and tightly seal the container. Place the bucket in a cardboard box for shipping.
3. To conform to federal and state laws, do not exceed 450 switches per bucket. No free mercury, no switches that are broken or corroded enough to leak in transport, or any other hazardous materials, should be placed in the bucket before shipment.
Click here to see full shipping instructions.

How do I handle glass switches?
If glass switches were removed from the assembly or the glass mercury pellet is unprotected by the switch housing, they should be placed inside a secondary container (e.g. a plastic tub), padded to prevent possible breakage and then placed into the larger collection bucket.

Do I need to separate the mercury switch pellets from the switch housing?
No. In some instances, it is easier to remove a light switch pellet without removing the switch assembly from the vehicle. In most cases, however, it is simpler to remove the entire housing and put in the bucket. Pellets should never be removed from ABS and Airbag modules.


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