How do I manage my universal wastes?


If you aren’t sure how to manage your universal wastes, join the club!  Due to the complexities and ever-changing world of waste related compliance, many households and businesses haven’t a clue on proper waste management.   Since ALX wants to bridge this gap, we would like to share a few tips on universal waste management.  


  • Collect.  When collecting your batteries, lamps, mercury, and pesticides; the first step in consistent and quality waste management is to properly capture your wastes in a suitable container. Be sure to take into account the type of container needed, size, and quantity of each waste stream.  Follow the links to see waste container suggestions for batteries, lamps, mercury recycling, and pesticides.
  • Segregate.  Since universal wastes are indeed hazardous to the environment, it is a legal requirement to segregate your hazardous wastes from your nonhazardous wastes.  It is also necessary to determine the exact amount of each type of waste for recycling and disposal processes and associated costs.
  • Label.  A common mistake in universal waste management is having your waste units either unmarked or improperly marked.  Marking the container “Universal Waste” only, without indicating which type of universal waste, will not suffice for waste container labeling.  For example, when collecting fluorescent bulbs, the container should read “Universal Waste – Lamps”.  Click here to see a label example that includes the date of accumulation.
  • Document.  Proper documentation and records retention is extremely important to support your waste management efforts.  When it comes to regulatory audits, it’s not about what you say you are doing, but more about what you can prove you are doing.  Click here to learn more about waste diversion tracking.


This post is not to be used in place of the federal and state regulatory compliance.  Visit the EPA or your state‘s department of environmental quality to seek additional guidance.