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November 2006

Universal Waste: What is it and how must it be handled?

What is it?
Universal Waste is a category of less regulated wastes that still pose a threat to the environment. They must be collected and disposed of separately from other wastes.
  • Lead/acid, nickel/cadmium, lithium and mercury batteries (typically rechargeable batteries found in cameras, laptops, etc., but not alkaline.)
  • Fluorescent and high intensity discharge (HID) lamps with mercury.
  • Mercury thermostats.
  • Some pesticides.
How must they be handled?
Used batteries including: lead/acid, nickel/cadmium, lithium and mercury batteries
  • Caps must be tightly placed on all batteries.
  • If the battery is charged, the terminals must be covered with duct tape.
  • All boxes with used batteries must have a universal waste label with date. Labels may be obtained by contacting EH&S at (631) 632-6410.
  • Large batteries may be picked up or dropped of at a designated campus location. Please contact EH&s for assistance.
  • At the University Hospital, return batteries to Biomedical Engineering in room 141 on level 1.
Fluorescent lamps
  • Collect used lamps in original containers, fiber drums or any suitable cardboard container.
  • All boxes with used lamps must be closed and have a Universal Waste Label with the date. Labels may be obtained by contacting EH&S at (631) 632-6410.
  • Central Stores will regularly pick up full boxes from lamp storage locations.
  • Broken fluorescent lamps must be handled as hazardous waste.
  • Broken lamps and debris will be collected in a closed bag and placed in a metal can or drum and given to EH&S. Contact EH&S for assistance.
  • Do not put broken bulbs in Universal Waste Collection boxes.
  • Do not throw broken bulbs into the trash. Remove any lamps you see in trash containers and dispose of as noted above.
Mercury containing devices
Please contact EH&S at (631) 632-6410 if you have any mercury containing devices to report.
Please contact EH&S at (631) 632-6410 with questions on disposal.

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The EH&S Tip of the Month is a publication of the EH&S Communications Team: Annette Falcetta, Bob Holthausen, Cliff Knee, Joe Daley, Kim Auletta, Lisa Buchter, Lou Mancusco, Mike Seymour, Sean Harling, & Terry Hulse.

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