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California Mercury
Reduction Act

In 2001, the California Legislature passed a law known as Senate Bill 633 or the California Mercury Reduction Act of. SB 633 encouraged people who dismantle or recycle vehicles to remove the mercury light switches before sending the vehicles to be crushed, baled or shredded.

Building on SB 633, California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) adopted mercury waste classification and handling regulations in order to clarify the rules for those who dismantle and recycle vehicles. As of January 1, 2005, any vehicle that contains a mercury light switch in the hood or trunk will be considered a hazardous waste as soon as it is prepared for recycling and will remain a hazardous waste until the mercury light switches are removed.

In addition, mercury light switches may now be handled under the “universal waste” rules which are simpler than the ones for most hazardous wastes. For more information, please visit the DTSC website at

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