At the end of this module, you will be able to:
- List the four categories of universal waste
- Describe universal waste requirements
- Describe appropriate storage and handling procedures for each type of universal waste
- Describe the hazards of universal wastes
- List the materials required and steps taken to cleanup mercury and pesticide spills
The following key questions are answered in this module:
What batteries are considered universal waste?
Spent lead acid, rechargeable (NiCd or NiMH), lithium ion, and button-cell batteries are considered universal waste.
What are universal waste lamps?
Universal waste lamps include fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps (CFL), high intensity discharge (HID) bulbs, and neon bulbs.
What types of equipment contain mercury?
Some electrical switches, thermometers, thermocouples, thermostats, and barometers all contain mercury.
What pesticides are considered universal waste?
Only pesticides that have been recalled under FIFRA or collected as part of a waste pesticide management program recognized by the state or federal regulatory agency are considered universal waste.
How should universal wastes be stored?
All universal wastes should be stored in a designated central location in their own container that is compatible with the waste being stored. Each type of universal waste has special storage considerations that are covered in this course.
Below is a transcript of the video sample provided for this module:
There are some lamps or light bulbs that are considered hazardous because they contain mercury. Universal waste lamps include fluorescent tubes, compact fluorescent lamps, high-intensity discharge bulbs, and neon bulbs. Recycling lamps is important because it prevents the release of mercury and allows the reuse of other bulb materials. Even though CFLs contain mercury, their use results in less mercury entering the environment than that caused by incandescent bulb use. Coal-burning power plants are the largest source of mercury released to the environment. So, powering the less efficient incandescent bulbs actually leads to a greater mercury release per lumen than disposing of used CFLs does.
Use the additional resources and links below to learn more about this topic:
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) – www.epa.gov
- EPA Hazardous Waste - https://www.epa.gov/hw/universal-waste
- Frequent Questions - https://www.epa.gov/hw/frequent-questions-about-universal-waste
- General Requirements - https://www.epa.gov/hw/differences-between-universal-waste-and-hazardous-waste-regulations