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Universal Waste

Universal waste ICON

Overview

Universal wastes are consumer products that contain mercury, lead, cadmium and other hazardous substances. These waste cannot be discarded in household trash nor disposed of in landfills. Examples are batteries, fluorescent tubes, and many electronic devices. 

“California’s Universal Waste Rule allows individuals and businesses to transport, handle and recycle certain common hazardous wastes, termed universal wastes, in a manner that differs from the requirements for most hazardous wastes. The more relaxed requirements were adopted to ensure that they are managed safely and are not disposed of in the trash” (California Department of Toxic Substances Control website).

Regulatory Agencies

Local Unified Program Agency

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

CALRecycle

Program Inclusion Conditions

Any facility that generates any of the following types of waste.

  • Electronic Devices
  • Batteries
  • Electric Lamps
  • Mercury-Containing Equipment
  • Cathode Ray Tubes (CRTs) and CRT Glass
  • Non-Empty Aerosol Cans

Required tasks

Storage Area Inspection

Waste Removal

What to Expect During an Inspection

Universal waste inspections are conducted by the local unified program agency. The inspection will include verification of proper storage and timely removal from the facility.

Related Programs

Hazardous waste

Universal Waste Resources

California Department of Toxic Substances Control

California Department of Toxic Substances Control: Additional Information

California Department of Toxic Substances Control: California Universal Waste Rule

California Department of Toxic Substances Control: Fact Sheet

California Department of Toxic Substances Control: Mercury Thermostat Collection Act of 2008

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