Universal Wastes at
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Universal Wastes?
Universal wastes are hazardous wastes that are more common and pose a lower risk to people and the environment than other hazardous wastes. Simplified regulations apply to the management of universal wastes, but none may be placed in regular trash.
All universal wastes are hazardous wastes and would otherwise have to be managed under the same stringent standards as other hazardous wastes. Universal wastes are generated by a wide variety of people rather than solely by other industrial processes that are the primary generators of traditional hazardous waste.
What are some examples of Universal Waste?
Batteries, mercury thermometers, thermostats, switches, lamps (fluorescent tubes, sodium vapor lamps), non-empty aerosol cans, consumer electronic devices, cathode ray tubes (computer monitors, televisions) and vacuum gauges (U tube manometers, barometers, sphygmomanometers) are some common examples of universal wastes found on campus.
How do I safely manage Universal Wastes generated by my department?
EH&S provides the following guidance for safely handling your Universal Wastes:
Place your non-leaking alkaline (AA, AAA, C, 9-volt square) and rechargeable (Ni-Cd, mercury, gel cell) batteries in an approved battery recycling drop off bucket at over 100 locations on campus.
Leaking batteries should be handled with gloves, placed in a bag or other secondary containment, labeled with a Stanford University Hazardous Waste Tag and picked up by EH&S.
To request a battery recycling drop off bucket in your building, contact Chris Craig at 3-0654 or email@example.com.
EH&S will replace your unbroken mercury thermometers with non-mercury (alcohol-based) thermometers free of charge. Email Heather Perry at firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate number, type (heat block, water bath, etc.) and temperature range for each thermometer you would like replaced.
If you have broken a mercury thermometer and cleaned it up yourself, label the closed container of mercury with a Stanford University Hazardous Waste Tag and submit an online pick-up request to EH&S. Please purchase a non-mercury replacement. Mercury thermometer clean-up instructions can be found here.
If you require assistance cleaning up your broken mercury thermometer, call EH&S’ Hazardous Materials Response hotline at 5-9999.
Computers, intact monitors, televisions and other capital or non-capital electronic equipment should be managed through your Department Property Administrator (DPA). Broken CRTs should be labeled with a Stanford University Hazardous Waste Tag and picked up by EH&S; pick-up requests may be made online.
Small, non-capital electronic devices such as cell phones, PDAs, calculators and telephones may be placed in an approved Electronic Device Recycling Bin. To request placement of a drop off bucket in your department, contact Chris Craig at 3-0654 or email@example.com.