Hazardous and Solid Waste

Getting Out of Universal Waste Accumulation Rules

We have a small warehouse that generates 4 to 5 bulbs per year. It costs us the same if we have 5 bulbs or 35 bulbs for disposal. Would the cost for disposal of those 5 bulbs be considered an exception for accumulation of bulbs for more than 1 year? If you dated each bulb as to when it entered the container help?

Federal universal waste (UW) rules allow accumulation of a UW lamp or lamps for no longer than 1 year from the date the UW lamp was generated (i.e. became a waste lamp).


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 According to the federal UW rules: a "handler of universal waste may accumulate universal waste for longer than one year from the date the universal waste is generated, or received from another handler, if such activity is solely for the purpose of accumulation of such quantities of universal waste as necessary to facilitate proper recovery, treatment, or disposal. However, the handler bears the burden of proving that such activity is solely for the purpose of accumulation of such quantities of universal waste as of disposing/recycling."

This provision is the same for both small quantity handlers of universal waste (SQGUWs) and large quantity handlers of universal waste (LQHUWs). 

The question, of course, is whether the accumulation of lamps for more than a year due to the expense of disposing/recycling them would be considered by a state environmental agency to be "necessary to facilitate proper recovery, treatment, or disposal ". 


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The Agency would probably have to be convinced that the expense of removing the lamps from your site is burdensome. Regardless, the container holding the lamps, or the lamps themselves must be labeled in accordance with 40 CFR 273.15(c) (SQGUWs) and 40 CFR 273.35(c) (LQHUWs), which requires the UW handler to place the UW in a container and mark or label the container with the earliest date that any UW in the container became a waste or, alternatively, mark or label each individual item of UW (e.g., each bulb) with the date it became a waste.