Universal Waste

Hazardous waste regulations designate a category of hazardous wastes called "universal waste" (u-waste). This category includes many items, including:

  • Fluorescent lamps
  • Cathode ray tubes
  • Instruments that contain mercury
  • Batteries
  • And others

Under California's Universal Waste Rule, households and "conditionally exempt small quantity generators" were allowed to dispose of fluorescent lamps, batteries (not lead/acid batteries of the type used in autos), mercury thermostats, and electronic devices to the trash through February 8, 2006, unless the local trash companies or other agencies prohibited it. Large and small quantity handlers are required to ship their waste to either another handler, a universal waste transfer station, a recycling facility, or a disposal facility.

Televisions and computer monitors also cannot be disposed of in the trash. Most televisions and computer monitors are currently considered hazardous waste when they have lived their life and are ready for recycling or disposal, including cathode-ray tube (CRT), liquid crystal diode (LCD), and plasma monitors. These items may not be put in the trash.