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Ross Gets Leadership Award

Article Posted by Times-News


State Rep. Steve Ross has a background in finance, not chemistry.

“I don’t know a lot about a lot of chemicals, but I know mercury is dangerous,” the Alamance County Republican told the Times-News on Wednesday. “When this came along, I decided this was worth doing.”

Ross put up a bill extending North Carolina’s mercury switch removal program, for which the Recycling Association of North Carolina gave him its leadership award this year.

The program, originally scheduled to expire in June, required the mercury switches used in the lights in car trunks manufactured before 2005 to be removed before cars are crushed, shredded or smelted. Since North Carolina’s programs started in 2005, more than 450,000 switches have been collected containing 1,200 pounds of pure mercury, Ross said.

“This keeps it from going into the groundwater,” Ross said.

Recyclers get $5 for each switch under the program, which is funded with a 50 cent surcharge on car registrations.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency used North Carolina’s program as a national model in 2006, Ross said, and that program, too, has been extended to 2021.

The program was adopted before the Great Recession, Ross said, which extended the time drivers were keeping older cars on the road. He said he hopes it won’t need to be extended again in four years.

Reporter Isaac Groves can be reached at or 336-506-3045. Follow him on Twitter at @tnigroves.



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