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Safety Instruction Number:63
Last Update:Tue, 09/04/2007
Universal Waste is a term used to describe certain common everyday chemical-containing wastes, including household batteries, electronic devices, and fluorescent light bulbs. Disposal of these items is controlled for non-household entities, such as OSU. These items contain harmful chemicals which may be harmful to people or the environment. OSU has many programs in place to assist the campus community safely divert these materials from the university waste stream.
Common Batteries – These include AA, AAA, C cells, D cells and button batteries (e.g. hearing aid batteries). These may contain a corrosive chemical that can cause burns as well as toxic heavy metals like cadmium. Battery recycling buckets are located at most dorms and many other locations on campus:
For other areas, please use the EH&S hazardous waste pick up request system to have your batteries removed. Lead based batteries (automotive, motorcycle, and UPS-type batteries) are not universal waste and are managed separately through the same request system.
Fluorescent Tubes and Bulbs and Other Mercury-Containing Lamps – Fluorescent light tubes and bulbs, high intensity discharge (HID), metal halide, sodium, and neon bulbs contain mercury vapor that may be released to the environment when they are broken. For disposal of bulbs or tubes, please use the EH&S hazardous waste pick up request system.
Large Appliances and Equipment – These may contain thermostats, electrical switches, relays or sensors that may contain mercury, pumps that contain oil or compressors that contain refrigerants. Appliances must be properly prepared before they are sent off site for metal recycling. Please contact EH&S for survey of large appliances used in a lab setting, as these may not be offered for surplus. Review Release of Equipment before contacting Property Surplus for other appliances.
Electronic Devices – Many electronic devices containing circuit boards including: tube-type and flat panel televisions and computer monitors, laptop computers, computers (CPUs), printers, radios, microwave ovens, VCRs, cell phones, cordless phones, PDA’s, and telephone answering machines have been tested and found to contained concentrations of heavy metals like lead, cadmium, copper, and chromium high enough to make them hazardous wastes when they are discarded. Unless you are sure they are not hazardous, you should presume these types of devices need to be recycled or disposed of as hazardous waste and that they may not be thrown in the trash.
Aerosol Cans – These must be handles as hazardous waste. Please use the EH&S hazardous waste pick up request system to have these items removed.