Universal Waste

Includes a wide range of materials that require special handling.

Universal waste must be processed in special facilities, rather than placed in a landfill.
Universal waste includes a wide range of materials, including electronics, some lighting equipment and some batteries.

What Items are "Electronics"?

Primary examples of electronics are:

  • Televisions and monitors
  • Computers and computer peripherals
  • Audio and stereo equipment
  • VCRs, DVRs, CD players and DVD players
  • Video cameras
  • Telephones
  • Fax and copying machines
  • Cellular phones and wireless devices
  • Wearable electronics
  • Video game consoles

Why prevent electronics from entering the landfill?

Some components of these electronic devices may contain constituents that if improperly handled could be harmful to the environment. Certain components may contain small amounts of RCRA regulated heavy metals, including lead, silver, barium, cadmium and mercury. Many of these metals can be recovered and recycled by de-manufacturing and recycling of electronic devices.

What are the Regulations Concerning Electronics Disposal for Businesses?

It is the generator's responsibility to determine if his waste meets the criteria established for hazardous waste, and if so, the generator will bear sole responsibility for the proper management of this material. EPA has proposed that electronics destined for recycling be managed under the Universal Waste provisions of its regulations.

Other Items Considered Universal Waste

  • Straight, U-shape, HID, shielded and coated florescent lamps
  • Alkaline, nickel-cadmium, lithium, lead sealed cell, and lead acid batteries
  • Lighting ballasts (PCB, non-PCB and HID)
  • Thermostats