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Universal Waste

Common universal wastes generated on campus include batteries, fluorescent lights, cathode ray tubes (TV and computer monitors), thermostats containing mercury, and consumer electronic devices such as cell phones, refrigerators, VCRs, microwave ovens and computer equipment. Information and instructions concerning the proper handling and recycling of common universal wastes at UC Merced are described below and on the campus recycling site.
Please do not bring in items from home!  Instructions for disposing of household hazardous waste are located on the Merced County Regional Waste Authority website.
Battery recycling helps protect our environment from heavy metal contamination. Please do not place used batteries in the trash.  Used batteries are collected for recylcing including: 
  • 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 at or call Ernie Solano at (209) 201-6596 to schedule a universal waste collection. Battery recycle bins are located in the lobbies of the library, the Students First Center, the Classroom and Office Building, the first and second floors of Science and Engineering 1, 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 nine 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 that contains a circuit board  into the trash. To arrange for the collection of used CEDs, or any other universal waste, contact us at (209) 201-6596.
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 keep this contaminate from entering our environment by following the procedures below.
Recycling Procedures
  • Recycle: CEDs or CRTs by requesting universal waste collection by contacting us at (209) 201-6596.
  • 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 nine months of being generated.
Lamps Containing Mercury
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 (209) 201-6596 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 residue with 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 a WASTe tag and date.
  7. Request pickup through WASTe.