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Understanding Universal Waste Management & Disposal

November 25, 2020

What Is Universal Waste?

Universal waste is a general descriptive term EPA uses to identify certain hazardous wastes that are generated by large numbers of businesses in relatively small amounts. Under the universal waste rule, these identified hazardous wastes remain hazardous wastes but are not collected and managed in compliance with the full hazardous waste rules.

Batteries piled up and oxidizing awaiting universal waste disposal.

Universal Waste Management

Instead, EPA has determined that these wastes can be more effectively managed in accordance with "streamlined" hazardous waste management rules that subject handlers of universal wastes to less stringent standards for storing, transporting, and collecting the wastes. However, universal wastes are still subject to the full hazardous waste requirements for final recycling, treatment, or disposal.

EPA classifies the following as universal wastes:

The universal waste management standards apply to universal waste handlers, universal waste transporters, and destination facilities. "Universal waste handlers" are:

Who Is A Universal Waste Generator

A “universal waste generator” is the person who used the universal waste and then determined that it was no longer usable and therefore should be discarded. Generated universal waste is not counted in a generator's hazardous waste quantity if it is managed according to universal waste rule standards (40 CFR 261.5(c)(6)). Contractors who remove universal wastes from service (e.g., lamps) are considered handlers and co-generators of the waste.

Small Quantity Handler of Universal Waste (SQHUW). An SQHUW is a universal waste handler who does not accumulate 5,000 kg or more total of universal wastes at any time.

Large Quantity Handler of Universal Waste (LQHUW). An LQHUW is a universal waste handler who accumulates 5,000 kg or more total of universal wastes at any time. This status is retained through the end of the calendar year in which the 5,000 kg or more total of universal waste was collected.

In general, the standards for SQHUWs and LQHUWs managing universal waste are identical, with the exception of requirements in connection with notification to EPA, employee training, waste tracking, and recordkeeping, as discussed in this section.

Universal Waste Facilities

Owners and operators of facilities that accumulate universal waste but do not treat, recycle, or dispose of them are universal waste handlers.

Who Is A Universal Waste Transporter

A “universal waste transporter” is a person engaged in the off-site transportation of universal waste by air, rail, highway, or water. Persons who meet this definition include those who transport universal waste from one universal waste handler to another, to a destination facility, or to a foreign destination.

What Is A Universal Waste Destination Facility?

A “universal waste destination facility” is a facility that treats, disposes of, or recycles a particular category of universal waste, except those management activities performed by SQHUWs and LQHUWs. A facility at which a particular type of universal waste is only accumulated is not a destination facility for purposes of managing that category of universal waste.

It is important that your organization comply with all EPA standards when it comes to universal waste management & disposal. Although this article is meant to give you help understanding universal waste, it is best to let a commercial universal waste disposal company transport and dispose of your universal waste.

When you need the best universal waste management & disposal company in Arizona, call TransChem Environmental or contact TCE today!

We specialize in extraordinary hazardous waste situations without the use of subcontractors.
We are experienced in universal waste management & disposal.
We are in control of every aspect of your project and you stay informed.