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Universal Wastes

Universal wastes are certain hazardous wastes that are generated by a large cross section of the regulated community and include such wastes as batteries, pesticides, mercury containing equipment, lamps and aerosol cans. Pennsylvania also includes oil-based finishes and photographic solutions as universal waste.  Facilities that generate universal wastes range in size from large industrial complexes to individual households. Universal wastes are subject to streamlined hazardous waste regulations designed to facilitate environmentally sound collection and increase proper recycling or treatment.  The universal waste rule also facilitates programs developed to reduce the quantity of these wastes going to municipal waste landfills or combustors.  Universal waste management does not require use of a manifest or a licensed transporter to transport the waste to a permitted treatment, storage or disposal facility. More importantly, management as universal waste allows facilities that meet "universal waste handler" requirements to accumulate these wastes without a full hazardous waste storage permit.

Management of hazardous wastes under the universal waste program is less costly than management under the full hazardous waste regulations. Lower transportation and accumulation costs help to increase the recycling of universal wastes, and also helps to divert them from unlawful disposal in non-hazardous waste landfills.

Universal Waste Compliance Guide (PDF) (2510-BK-DEP2564)

Universal Waste Regulations Fact Sheet (PDF) (2510-FS-DEP2723)