Universal Waste Management

Universal Waste- Flourescent Light Bulbs
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Universal Wastes are widely generated hazardous wastes such as batteries, fluorescent bulbs and other devices containing mercury. The federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reduced the regulatory requirements to encourage proper treatment and recycling, therefore allowing these wastes to be managed as Universal Wastes instead of Hazardous Wastes. The Universal Waste Rule, 40 CFR Part 237, allows states to modify the rule and add additional universal wastes, e.g. dental amalgam waste and pharmaceuticals, to their individual state regulations.

Common wastes that can be managed as universal wastes:

  • Batteries (alkaline, lead acid, lithium /lithium ion, nickel-cadmium)
  • Devices Containing Mercury (mercury-switch thermostats, mercury thermometers; dental amalgam in certain states)
  • Bulbs (straight fluorescent lamps, u-shape and circular fluorescent lamps, and more)
  • Pesticides

*Note - States can expand the scope of materials falling under the Universal Waste Rule.


  • DOT-approved collection containers
  • Prepaid return shipping
  • Proper treatment or recycling when applicable
  • Online proof of treatment/Certificate of Recycling
  • Auto-reorder and Auto-shipping options
  • Meet or exceeds the standards of the Universal Waste Rule

State Additions to the Universal Waste Rule

Per the EPA website

Batteries / Mercury Devices / Lamps / Pesticides

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas(consumer electronic items; cathode ray tubes (CRTs) and other electronic wastes (excludes broken and crushed lamps/debris))
  • California(thermostats; waste cathode ray tube materials)
  • Colorado(aerosol cans; electronic devices and electronic components)
  • Connecticut(thermostats; lamps; used electronics)
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida(universal pharmaceutical waste)
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii(thermostats)
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana(discarded mercury-containing thermostats; lamps-prohibition against intentionally breaking or crushing)
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana(electronics; antifreeze)
  • Maine(cathode ray tubes; mercury thermostats; motor vehicle mercury switches; totally enclosed, non leaking polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) ballast)
  • Maryland(fluorescent light ballasts that contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs))
  • Massachusetts(mercury-containing devices)
  • Michigan(antifreeze; consumer electronics; electric lamps; devices containing elemental mercury (including thermostats, switches, thermometers, manometers, barometers, anti-locking braking systems (ABS), gas flow regulators, hydrometers, blood pressure cuffs and various medical devices, etc); pharmaceuticals, including drugs for both human and veterinary use)
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana(requirements for treatment of electric lamps)
  • Nebraska(electronic items)
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire(cathode ray tubes; waste antifreeze)
  • New Jersey(oil-based finishes; consumer electronics)
  • New Mexico
  • New York(thermostats)
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania(oil-based finishes)
  • Rhode Island(thermostats; cathode ray tubes)
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas(mercury-containing equipment, including thermostats; paint and paint-related waste)
  • Utah(thermostats)
  • Vermont(thermostats; PCB-containing fluorescent light ballasts; cathode ray tubes)
  • Virginia(Universal waste lamps may be crushed or intentionally broken on the site of generation to reduce their volume; however, breaking, crushing, handling, and storage must occur in a safe and controlled manner that minimizes the release of mercury to the workplace and the environment and must comply with 29 CFR 1910.1000.)
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin(thermostats)
  • Wyoming