Summerhill Impact is a national not-for-profit organization that delivers many of Canada’s largest environmental public engagement campaigns. They use market-based solutions, public outreach and partnerships with key players to address environmental problems by influencing consumer behaviour.
One of their most popular campaigns is the Switch Out program, which involves removing mercury switches from cars. Mercury is highly toxic and can have impacts on the environment and human health if not properly contained and disposed of safely.
Switch Out works directly with auto recyclers and dismantlers to coordinate collection, removal and proper management of mercury switches found in thousands of end-of-life vehicles across Canada. These mercury-containing switches are typically found in the convenience lighting switches and anti-lock braking systems.
Participation in the program is simple: a business registers with Summerhill Impact and is sent a collection container, training and educational materials. The Switch Out program is available in all provinces and territories.
The program began as a local initiative in Ontario and British Columbia more than a decade ago. The program is now national and has gained enthusiastic support from its industry partners. For example, vehicle manufacturers are now providing practical educational materials to help vehicle recyclers. Additionally, steel producers have implemented a policy to purchase only “zero mercury” recycled steel.