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How to recycle a broken sphygmomanometer by ACT NOWaste

By Barcham 15 November 2013

Why can’t every press release I get sent be this cheery and upbeat?

Do you have anything you have no idea how to recycle? Let’s try and stump them with something really tricky.

Also when I first read the word sphygmomanometer I thought that they were making it up to be funny.

Here, I’m just gonna give you the whole thing, this made me happy.

As National Recycling Week winds up, ACT residents are urged to rethink their recycling, and to contact ACT NOWaste with any recycling questions.

“Every week we receive a range of requests for assistance and questions on recycling, some of which can be quite obscure,” Acting Director of ACT NOWaste, David Roberts said.

“NOWaste staff once received a request asking about recycling a disused sphygmomanometer, better known as a blood pressure testing machine.

“Staff had never had to recycle a sphygmomanometer before, so they had to figure out exactly how best to dispose of it. The device contained mercury, which had to be removed and sent to a facility in New South Wales before the rest of the machine could be sent to a metal recycler.”

This is just one of dozens of unusual questions asked of ACT NOWaste, including how to recycle compact fluorescent lamp light bulbs, suitcases, flowerpots, laminated paper, body bags and dentures.

“We once had a request to see if it was possible to recycle turf,” Mr Roberts said.

“The important thing to remember is the only silly questions are the ones you don’t ask. The more you know about recycling, the better.

“Just because an item cannot go into a recycling bin does not mean it can’t be recycled somehow.

“Most people know newspapers, magazines, wrapping paper, cardboard boxes and aluminium cans can be recycled. They also know household appliances, polystyrene foam, disposable nappies, food waste and green waste cannot be put in your recycling bin at home.

“These are normal items. But for unusual items like sphygmomanometers, sometimes people need help. This is where ACT NOWaste comes in.”

People can also email recycling questions to or visit for a range of useful tips including the A-Z of waste and recycling.

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