Universal Waste Basic Principles


Eases Handling and Disposal Regulations

Reduces Cost to Properly Manage & Recycle

The US EPA has added mercury containing lamps to the federal list of universal wastes regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) of 1990.
This reduces the cost and regulatory burden on generators who recycle due to streamlined regulations regarding accumulation, storage, transport, treatment & disposal.
Until July 6, 1999, federal and some state regulations made it difficult and expensive for generators to properly manage the 600 million lamps discarded each year as hazardous waste. Most ended up in municipal landfills which posed dangers for the public health and environment due to mercury and lead contamination of air and groundwater. Most states had already adopted policies to prohibit lamp disposal in municipal landfills and were granting handling exemptions to generators who recycle lamps.

Federal Register
July 6, 1999 - Vol. 65
No. 128 pp 36465-36490

Requires full regulatory compliance for hazardous waste if recycling is not chosen.
Optional for Households and Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (less than 100 kg/mo). May manage lamps as Universal Waste or via RCRA exemption.
Exempts whole lamps from shipment on Hazardous Waste Manifest and allows shipment using a Common Carrier Bill of Lading if lamps are destined for recycling.
Does not require the analytical testing or reporting of whole lamps destined for recycling.
Adds hazardous waste lamps to the federal universal waste rule (waste lamps that are hazardous due to exhibiting one or more of the characteristics of hazardous waste) which includes incandescent and neon lamps.
Small and large quantity handlers of universal waste lamps are prohibited from diluting or treating universal waste lamps except by responding to releases. The prohibition against treatment includes a prohibition against crushing. EPA feels that uncontrolled crushing of universal waste lamps in containers meeting only the general performance standards of the universal waste rule would not sufficiently protect human health and the environment.
Reduces record keeping, training and emergency requirements. Most businesses won’t have to register with the EPA to obtain a generator ID or do reporting.
Increases storage time of waste lamps up to one year.
Imposes minimal training and labeling requirements on generators and handlers.

E-Waste Information
Universal Waste Information
Computer ewaste recycling
Computer Monitor Recycling
Appliance Recycling
Fluorescent Lamps and Ballast
Mercury Containing Devices (MCD)
Battery Recycling



© Allied Environmental Services LLC 2006