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Universal Waste

Common universal wastes generated on a university campus include batteries, fluorescent lights, cathode ray tubes (TV and computer monitors), mercury containing thermostats, and consumer electronic devices such as cell phones, refrigerators, VCR’s, microwave ovens, and computer equipment.

Information and instructions concerning the proper handling and recycling of common universal wastes at UC Merced are below:

Battery recycling helps protect our environment from heavy metal contamination. Used batteries are collected by for recycling. Please do not place used batteries in the trash. Battery types recycled include:

  • Alkaline
  • Carbon-zinc
  • Lithium ion
  • Mercury
  • Nickel-cadmium
  • Nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH)
  • Silver button
  • Small sealed lead Acid (pb)

Recycling Procedures

  • Recycle batteries by placing them into a battery recycling container near you or contact us or call 228-4161 to schedule a universal waste collection.  Battery recycle bins are located in the lobbies of the library, the student first center, the class room building, S&E#1 first and second floor, the office of student life, the student housing office, and the dining commons.  
  • Packaging/Labeling: If there is no battery recycling container near you, place the batteries in a bag or container. Label as “Universal Waste-Used Batteries”. Please include the date the waste was first generated.
  • Accumulation Time: Universal waste must be transferred to Recycling within 9 months of being generated.

Consumer Electronic Devices (CED)

Consumer electronic devices (CEDs) such as computers, electronic lab equipment, VCRs, microwave ovens, CD players, cell phones, etc contain heavy metals in the circuit boards. Please do not throw these items or any device which contains a circuit board into the trash. To arrange for the collection of used CEDs, or any other universal waste, contact us at 228-4161.

Cathode Ray Tubes (CRT)

Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) , which are commonly found in computer monitors and television sets, contain approximately 5-8 pounds of lead. Please help us to keep this contaminate from entering our environment by flowing the procedures below.
Recycling Procedures

  • Recycle CEDs or CRTs by requesting a universal waste collection by contacting us at 228-4161.
  • Packaging/Labeling: Label “Universal Waste-CED or CRT) and include the date the waste was generated.
  • Accumulation Time: Universal waste must be transferred to EH&S within 9 months of being generated.

Mercury Containing Lamps

Many types of common lamps contain mercury. Used mercury containing lamps are collected by facilities during replacement and transferred to Recycling. If you have generated used lamps by replacing them yourself, place the used lamps in a sturdy box, label as “universal waste” and contact us at 228-4161 or for a universal waste collection.

Common types of lamps that contain mercury are:

  • Fluorescent lamps (all types)
  • High Intensity Discharge (HID) Lamps
  • High Pressure Sodium Lamps
  • Neon Lamps
  • Mercury Vapor/UV Lamps
  • Metal Halide Lamps

Broken Lamp Spill Cleanup

  1. Do not throw mercury containing lamp tubes or high intensity discharge lamps, broken or unbroken, into the regular trash
  2. Ventilate area where breakage occurred.
  3. Wear appropriate PPE. At Minimum wear gloves appropriate for broken glass and safety goggles.
  4. Clean up powder residual with a suitable means (i.e. wet rag) that avoids dust and mercury vapor generation. DO NOT VACUUM WITH A HOUSEHOLD MACHINE.
  5. Dispose of lamp remnants in a closed container.
  6. Label with “Universal Waste - Mercury Containing Lamp” and date.
  7. Contact Recycling at 228-4161 or to schedule a Universal Waste collection.