CUPA Universal Waste

Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that are common to all businesses and households and pose a lower risk to people and the environment than other hazardous wastes. Federal and State regulations allow universal wastes to be handled and disposed with less stringent standards than other hazardous wastes. Many universal wastes are recyclable! Universal wastes do NOT have to be managed as hazardous waste, which greatly reduces the cost of proper disposal.

  • Generators are NOT required to use a Uniform Hazardous Waste Manifest when shipping universal wastes. However, you should have and retain a receipt showing proper shipment and/or disposal of your universal waste.
  • Universal waste does NOT require the use of a Certified Hazardous Waste Transporter for transport or disposal. You may self-haul your universal waste to a recycler, use a mail-back program or a recycler of your choice may pick up universal waste on a bill-of-lading or receipt.

Please refer to the resources below for additional information:

What are some common universal wastes?
  • Fluorescent lamps: fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs)
  • Batteries (all types & sizes): Alkaline, Ni-Cad, Ni-MH & Lithium rechargeable, sealed lead acid
  • Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs): Computer monitors, televisions
  • Electronic devices: Computer CPUs, printers, radios, cellular phones, video game systems, commercial electronic equipment, other electronic items with a circuit board
  • Non-empty aerosol cans
  • Mercury-containing equipment: Thermostats, switches, thermometers, pressure and vacuum gauges, dilators and weighted tubing, rubber flooring, mercury-added novelties, gas flow regulators, counterweights and dampers, dental amalgam
What are the specific handling and disposal rules for businesses that generate universal waste?
  • Batteries, lamps and mercury containing equipment must be stored in a container which is closed, structurally sound, compatible with the contents and maintained in good condition.
  • Electronic devices, CRTs and CRT glass may be stored in containers of similar design and construction as those used for battery and lamp storage. Stretch-film on a pallet may also be used as long as the universal waste stored on the pallet is stored in a manner which prevents breakage and release of components to the environment. Each container or pallet of universal waste must be labeled with the words “Universal Waste” and the type of waste being stored (e.g. batteries, lamps, CRTs, etc.).
  • A generator of universal waste may not accumulate universal waste for longer than 1 year.
Glossary of Terms
  • “Universal Waste” or “U-waste” is hazardous waste that is common to all businesses and households and poses a lower risk to people and the environment than other hazardous wastes. Federal and State regulations allow universal wastes to be handled and disposed with less stringent standards than other hazardous wastes.
  • “Electronic Waste” or “E-waste” applies to many different electronic items and is not necessarily synonymous with universal waste.
  • “Household Hazardous Waste” or “HHW” may include universal waste (U-waste), electronic waste (E-waste) and/or other wastes generated by residential households
Contact a Universal Waste Specialist
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