Universal Waste

Universal wastes are a group of hazardous wastes widely generated by industry and businesses, including college and university campuses. The USEPA regulates these wastes separately from other hazardous wastes in order to encourage their recycling and proper disposal.

All Universal Wastes (including spent fluorescent bulbs and lead acid batteries) may only be shipped to another universal waste handler or to an approved disposal facility. Use of a hazardous waste manifest is not required for off-campus shipments of Universal Wastes.

However, Non-Hazardous Waste manifests or Bills of Lading should be used and copies retained for a minimum of three (3) years. Contact the University’s EH&S Department for proper disposal requirements.

 

Used Fluorescent Bulbs
All used bulbs must be segregated from other University waste streams and be stored in containers that are structurally sound and adequate to prevent breakage (original cardboard boxes are acceptable). The individual bulbs or each storage container must be marked with the words “Universal Waste – Lamp(s)” or “Waste Lamps” or “Used Lamps”. Mark the accumulation start date (i.e., the date the bulbs are first placed in storage) on each individual bulb or storage container or maintain an inventory system for used bulbs. Storage time must not exceed one year from the date of generation.

Used fluorescent bulbs are collected by Facility Services personnel and are stored in Universal Waste Storage Sites located throughout each of the campuses.

Used Batteries
Used batteries must be managed in a way that prevents releases to the environment. Batteries that show signs of leakage, spillage or damage that could result in leaks must be placed in containers that are structurally sound and kept closed. Used batteries or each storage container must be marked with the words “Universal Waste – Battery(ies)” or “Waste Batteries” or “Used Batteries”. Mark the accumulation start date (i.e., the date the batteries are first placed in storage) on each battery or storage container or maintain an inventory system for used batteries. Storage time must not exceed one year from the date of generation.

Individual battery cells may be drained of electrolyte and then closed thereafter. Drained electrolyte must be managed as a “Chemical Waste”.

Used batteries are collected in fiber drums and are managed by Facility Services personnel.

Used Mercury-Containing Switches
Used mercury-containing switches must also be managed in a way that prevents releases to the environment. Switches that show signs of leakage must be placed in containers that are structurally sound and kept closed. Used switches or each storage container must be marked with the words “Universal Waste – Switch(es)” or “Waste Switches” or “Used Switches”. Mark the accumulation start date (i.e., the date the switches are first placed in storage) on each switch or storage container or maintain an inventory system for used switches. Storage time must not exceed one year from the date of generation.

It is the University’s policy that all used mercury-containing switches be sent for recycling off-campus. Contact EH&S for additional information on this recycling program.

Recalled/Banned Pesticides
Certain recalled and banned pesticides are classified as Universal Wastes. Universal waste pesticides must be managed in a way that prevents releases of the waste or component of the waste to the environment. Universal waste pesticides must be stored in containers that are both in good condition and are compatible with the waste pesticide. The containers are to be kept closed and labeled with either the label that was on or accompanied the pesticide when it was originally purchased by the University or by the words "Universal Waste-Pesticide(s)" or "Waste-Pesticide(s)". Storage time must not exceed one year from the date of generation.

It is the University’s policy that all recalled/banned pesticides be sent for recycling off-campus. Contact EH&S for additional information on this recycling program

Computer Monitors and Components
Computer monitors typically are classified as hazardous waste due to the amount of lead contained in the cathode ray tube (CRT) glass. Other computer components may also be classified as hazardous waste due to the presence of lead- or silver-bearing solders. Although USEPA has proposed to include computer monitors as Universal Waste, that rule has not yet been adopted. As such, these components are considered hazardous waste. Because of their metal components, the recycling of these materials for those components would exempt them from hazardous waste regulation. In order to qualify for this exemption, the NYSDEC must be notified of the recycling program and the scrap metal in the components must be reclaimed and recycled.

It is the University’s policy that all used computers and computer components be sent for recycling off-campus. Contact EH&S for additional information on this recycling program.