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    Universal Waste

01     Definitions

02     Storage & Accumulation

03     Treatment


What is Universal Waste?

Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that are generated across multiple sectors of society, these materials contain harmful chemicals which, if put in the trash may harm people or the environment. Universal wastes include:

  • Common Batteries
  • Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs and Other Mercury-Containing Lamps
  • Thermostats
  • Electronic Devices. These devices often contain heavy metals like lead, cadmium, copper, and chromium.
  • Electrical Switches and Relays
  • Pilot Light Sensors. Mercury-containing switches are found in some gas appliances
  • Mercury Gauges – Some gauges, such as barometers, manometers, blood pressure, and vacuum gauges
  • Mercury Thermometers
  • Non-Empty Aerosol Cans that Contain Hazardous Materials


Storage & Accumulation

How long can I accumulate Universal Waste at my facility?

A waste handler may accumulate universal waste for no longer than one year from the date the waste was generated or received from another handler. If for the purpose of accumulating quantities to facilitate proper recovery, treatment, or disposal (40 CFR 273.15 and 273.35), handlers may accumulate universal waste for longer than one year.

Waste Categorization

How Do I know if an electronic device can't be disposed in the trash?

A complete list of universal waste products, and information about disposal and recycling options, is available on the DTSC Web site at https://dtsc.ca.gov/universalwaste/

What materials are considered Universal Waste?

The universal waste regulations can vary between states and states can add different types of wastes. EPA compiled a list of which universal wastes which universal wastes states have adopted and which materials some states have added to their universal waste program. Link here https://www.epa.gov/hw/state-universal-waste-programs-united-states#additions. You should check with your state to be sure which materials are currently universal wastes in your state.

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