Universal Waste (UW) is in the Hazardous Waste family, but it does not have to be included in the determination of Hazardous Waste status. UW has its own categories of handling defined as Large Quantity Handlers (LQHUW) who accumulate 5,000 kg (11,023 lbs) or more of UW at one time and Small Quantity Handlers (SQHUW) who accumulate less than 5000 kg (11,023 lbs) of UW at all times. KSU is a SQHUW.
The Universal Waste Rule was added to the federal RCRA program in 1995 to address the following areas:
Hazardous wastes that are generated in large volumes and that are not particularly hazardous,
- Ease regulatory burdens on businesses,
- Promote proper recycling, treatment or disposal,
- Provide for collection opportunities.
Georgia adopted the Federal Universal Waste regulations. Included in the these regulations are mercury containing lamps, batteries containing heavy metals, mercury containing thermostats, mercury containing equipment and unused pesticides. A date must be clearly marked on all UW containers or individual pieces reflecting the date the item was determined to be waste or the date the first piece was placed in the container. A SQHUW can store UW for up to 1 year.
Mercury containing lamps include fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium and metal halide. These lamps or light bulbs must be kept in a sturdy container that is closed until they are removed from KSU. The container must be labeled with one of the following phrases: “Universal Waste – Lamp(s)” or “Waste Lamp(s)” or “Used Lamp(s)”.
UW batteries include nickel cadmium, metal hydride, small sealed lead-acid, lithium, mercury oxide, zinc air, and sliver oxide. UW batteries do not include intact lead-acid batteries that are managed through battery deposit systems, leaking lead-acid batteries that are managed as hazardous waste or batteries that are not hazardous waste (alkaline). Each battery or container of batteries must be marked with one of the following phrases “Universal Waste – Battery(ies)” or “Waste Battery(ies)” or “Used Battery(ies)”.
Mercury – Containing Thermostats must be collected and labeled with one of the following phrases: “Universal Waste – Mercury Thermostat(s)” or “Waste Mercury Thermostat(s)” or “Used Mercury Thermostat(s)”.
Mercury containing equipment must be labeled with one of the following phrases: “Universal Waste – Mercury Containing Equipment” or “Waste Mercury - Containing Equipment” or “Used Mercury -Containing Equipment”. The mercury containing device can be removed from mercury containing equipment if it can be done without causing it to break.
Pesticides may have to be managed as hazardous wastes. If they do not, then they will be managed as UW. They should be placed in sturdy containers which are compatible with the pesticide. The container should be labeled “Universal Waste – Pesticide(s)” or “Waste Pesticides”.
If you have questions about how to handle your universal waste, please contact Vanessa Biggers via email or by phone at 678-797-2415.