Universal Waste

Definition

Universal wastes are waste streams that meet the definition of a hazardous waste but are very common and can be easily recycled. Universal waste includes:

  • Batteries
  • Peseticides
  • Mercury-containing equipment
  • Light bulbs (lamps)

Because universal waste streams are so common and widely generated, the EPA has eased the regulatory burden to encourage the development of municipal and commercial recycling programs. The following subsections describe the waste collection procedures for these waste streams.

Universal waste can be brought to the Universal Waste trailer on Ahlers Drive. Batteries and bulbs used in research environments can be submitted on a Hazardous Materials Disposal Pickup Request form.

Batteries

Batteries that are regulated by the EPA as a universal waste include:

  • Lead-Acid
  • Nickel-Cadmium
  • Lithium and Lithium Ion
  • Mercury (mercuric oxide or mercury cell)
  • Nickel-Metal Hydride
  • Any other rechargeable battery

Universal waste batteries should be inventoried on a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request Form (detailed in Chapter 5 of this document) and sent to REM for proper recycle. Alkaline batteries are not considered universal waste because they contain no EPA regulated hazardous constituents, and can legally be discarded in the trash.

Pesticides

Purdue does not manage pesticide waste as universal waste. All pesticide waste should be inventoried on a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request Form (detailed in Chapter 5 of this document) and sent to REM for proper disposal.

Mercury-Containing Equipment

Purdue does not manage mercury-containing equipment waste as universal waste. All mercury-containing equipment waste should be inventoried on a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request Form (detailed in Chapter 5 of this document) and sent to REM for proper disposal.

Light Bulbs (lamps)

Light bulbs regulated as universal waste include:

  • Fluorescent
  • Compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • High-Intensity Discharge
  • Ultraviolet
  • Flood lamps

Incandescent light bulbs are not considered universal waste because they contain no EPA regulated hazardous constituents, and can legally be discarded in the trash.

Note: Broken Fluorescent lamps must be managed as hazardous waste. Submit a completed Hazardous Waste Pickup Request for proper disposal.

Requesting Bulb and Ballast Pickup

Purdue personnel can submit a notification requesting pickup of bulbs/ballasts. Please indicate in this email the quantity (number of boxes, buckets or bins), type of material (bulbs or ballasts), location (building loading dock) of the pickup, and contact information for any questions.
The work order will be routed to the respective zone and a zone lighting technician will come to pick up the material

Important Reminders:

  • University personnel can bring bulbs/ballasts from their buildings/shops to the trailer located near HMMT on Ahlers Road .
  • Training is mandatory for all personnel that handles used fluorescent bulbs.
  • All lamp containers must be closed and labeled with the words "Universal Waste Bulbs".

Electrical Ballasts (both non-PCB and PCB)

Electrical ballasts are not regulated by the EPA as hazardous waste. However, REM manages them in a similar fashion. All ballasts can be brought directly to the REM Laboratory Materials Storage Building (LMSB) (address listed below) for proper recycle; submitting a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request Form is not necessary. When bringing waste to HMMT, all personnel must sign in at the front desk and will receive further instructions.

Capacitors (both non-PCB and PCB)

Capacitors are not regulated by the EPA as a hazardous waste. However, REM manages them in a similar fashion. All capacitors can be brought directly to the REM Hazardous Materials Management Trailer (HMMT) (address listed below) for proper recycle; submitting a Hazardous Materials Pickup Request Form is not necessary. When bringing waste to HMMT, all personnel must sign in at the front desk and will receive further instructions.

Electronic Waste

All electronic waste (e-waste) is regulated by IDEM and must be disposed of properly. IDEM’s definition of e-waste is extremely broad and includes (329 IAC 16-2-1):

  • A circuit board in a computer or electronic device that holds integrated circuits and other electronic components
  • An electronic component such as a diode, resistor, capacitor, or coil
  • Display device such as a cathode ray tube, liquid crystal display screen, or other such display device
  • A computer
  • An electronic device, which is a device that has its primary functions provided by electronic circuitry and components
No e-waste should be thrown away in the trash. All e-waste must be sent to the Purdue Warehouse and Surplus where it will be processed for proper recycle. Contact the Purdue Warehouse and Surplus Store personnel at (765) 496-2222 for more detailed waste disposal instructions.
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