You are here: Home / Waste Disposal / Universal Waste

Training ScheduleTraining Calendar.png

Universal Waste Management

Within the provisions of the Resource and Conservation Recovery Act (RCRA), in 1995, EPA issued regulations for certain wastes called universal wastes. Universal waste rules provided regulatory flexibility by allowing longer storage times and reduced record-keeping requirements.

Currently, federal universal wastes are:

  • Batteries as described in 40 CFR 273.2
  • Pesticides as described in §273.3
  • Mercury-containing equipment as described in §273.4
  • Lamps (fluorescent bulbs) as described in §273.5. 
  • State of Wisconsin, as a delegated authority to manage hazardous waste, has added sealed mercury-containing equipment and antifreeze. These are known as state-specific universal wastes. Regulatory status is currently maintained via WIDNR memo.


Requirements for managing universal waste, though relaxed, are similar to your requirements for other hazardous waste.


Container Requirements

Waste must be managed in a way that prevents releases.

  • Containers must be closed, structurally sound and compatible with the contents.
  • Label containers Universal waste XXXXX -  
    • [Replace “XXXXX” with “Batteries”, “Mercury Thermostats”, “Lamps”,  “Mercury”, “Sealed mercury-containing devices”, “Antifreeze”;
    • Pesticide labeling varies somewhat – requirements may be found in NR 673.14(2)&(3)]
    • The date of receipt at the storage facility.



  • Used lamps must be disposed through the State Contract Waste Lamp and Ballast Recycling, and PCB Waste Disposal Services.
  • Vehicle batteries should be stored in a designated collection area. On the UWO campus we have a contract with a certified scrap battery hauler that picks up used vehicle batteries weekly.  Smaller lead acid batteries can be picked up by Environmental Affairs as part of a regular waste pick up in your area.
  • Mercury and mercury-containing devices should be disposed through the State Hazardous Waste contract.
  • Pesticides should be applied legally whenever possible or disposed through the State Hazardous Waste contract.
  • Containers must be collected by the contractor no later than one year after arriving at the storage facility.


Document Actions

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh — Where Excellence and Opportunity Meet.