Disposing Of Mercury

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eve1974 | 13:45 Mon 21st Sep 2020 | Science
9 Answers
large antique mirror (broken) the back reflective part contains MERCURY.

Council hazardous waste sites won’t take this.

A certified hazardous waste disposal company will charge way too much. £2k!!!

Is there a way it can Be safely wrapped and storeD this in an unused outbuilding on the property (Far away from main house And outbuilding will not contain anything Else other than mirror )


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Another thought - see if a neighbouring council's tip will take it, mine will.
16:55 Mon 21st Sep 2020
I would get a rigid plastic tub with a tight fitting lid - maybe one of those designed for under the bed storage would suit. Put a good layer of sand or soil in the bottom of the tub. Top with cat litter. Put the mirror pieces in, top with cat litter, cover with sand or soil. Lid on, label and forget.
I have taken further advice about this. Use the tub but don't put anything else in it - just the mirror. If you use soil, sand or anything that would have to be treated too, eventually.
Another thought - see if a neighbouring council's tip will take it, mine will.
Question Author
Barry ty for all that info! Very helpful!
Don't collect mercury in a plastic container. Mercury vapour will penetrate virtually all "plastic" material within a relatively short time no matter how thoroughly the element is buried in sand, soil, cat litter or anything else for that matter.

Ideally, you really need to have this collected professionally and some councils do operate such a facility. However, as the guys tend to don hazmat suits for the job, the councils don't do it for free.

Mercury spillage often occurs in laboratories and my university laboratories are cleared of staff before the technicians recover the stuff using specialised vacuum equipment and glass containers with air tight seals. Laboratory ventilation is switched to maximum. Plastic equipment is totally forbidden. The spillage area is drenched in specialised chemicals before staff are allowed to return.
Great if you can get your adjacent council to accept the waste. The local authority tips next to my own county need you to show a photo driving licence or passport before letting you in!
Question Author
@theprof ty for reply. It’s an old mirror (huge- maybe 7ft long by 5ft high!!!) our local council won’t accept and a Professional company wants 2k (!!) to remove!

I can’t put it in any container due to its size.

if I BREAK it into smaller pieces(n wear a mask / gloves) whilst doing will that harm

I recall at school (many years ago) we were given mercury to hold ... teachers never knew much of health n safety in those days I guess
What a lot of fuss about a bit of mercury. Not like you're making top hats. I can recall pushing blobs of it around the desk top when I was younger. All over the top these days.
Question Author
@O-G yeah me too!

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