On the day of May 11, 1995, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) established a ruling for universal wastes. This ruling would urge people to treat certain types of waste sooner. After the ruling, a few wastes that used to be ruled as hazardous were now acknowledged as non-hazardous as long as the ones generating the waste could meet certain standards the EPA had put in effect. Do you know how to handle your universal waste? Read on to find out!
What is Considered Universal Waste?
All kinds of items can be classified as universal waste, and knowing what they are is step number one in knowing how to handle them. Examples of items that are considered to be universal waste include paints, pesticides, batteries, and equipment with mercury in it.
If whoever generates these wastes wishes to classify them as universal, they won’t be burdened by any restrictions that hazardous materials face.
There is a caveat, however, and that is the fact that a few states interpret the EPA ruling differently than how it is specified. Their list of allowed wastes could be a little larger or smaller, and the regulations could be different. Most states abide by the standard federal ruling, but you should probably be safe and speak with the EPA agency in your state before you mark any of your wastes as universal.
Also, while these wastes don’t have to be defined as hazardous, you still have to get them treated the right way. Never forget the importance of proper treatment, storage, and labeling. You should also understand the kind of handler that you are.
All universal waste has to be labeled to specify the exact type of waste it is. Otherwise, the EPA will rule them as hazardous. Get all of your containers labeled, or even the actual waste. Do NOT label an area that is only near the container, such as the ground or walls.
Time Limits on Accumulation and Storage
If you handle universal waste, you can store it for a year at most, although there are exceptions, such as when more time is required to treat or dispose of it. If you need an exception to this annual storage rule, you should have the right documents on hand to let others know you require more time.
Because waste has a storage time limit, you want to monitor whenever wastes turn universal. That’s why you should write the earliest date that wastes can be considered universal. It also helps to have an inventory of any universal wastes you have, as well as all of the accumulation dates.
People who handle universal waste might not have their waste diluted or treated on-site, but there are exceptions for thermostats containing mercury, as well as batteries.
Understand that fluorescent bulbs can’t ever be classified under the universal waste tag. Because of the RCRA, known as the Resource Recovery and Conservation Act, any bulbs or lamps have to be deemed as hazardous waste.
Choose AEG Environmental as your Universal Waste Disposal Company
Our team can take care of whatever type of waste you need us to handle. You want to be as safe as you can when dealing with waste. If you have any universal waste you need us to handle, call us today and we’ll be able to help you!