Welcome to the Department of Toxic Substances Control

General UW for Small Businesses

What are universal wastes?

Generally, universal wastes are hazardous wastes that are generated by a wide variety of people every day. Universal waste may not be discarded in solid waste landfills.  Scientists at DTSC have found that these wastes will leak toxic substances, mostly metals, in a typical landfill.  Some examples of universal waste include:

  • Batteries
  • Fluorescent tubes (lamps)
  • Electronic devices (cell phones, computers, televisions)  and
  • Cathode ray tubes (CRTs) (computer monitors, televisions)
  • Mercury wastes (thermometers and dial type thermostats)
  • Non-empty aerosol cans
  • May not be put in the trash

If I can’t throw this stuff in the trash how do I get rid of it?

  • Many local government agencies run programs that help households and small businesses recycle or properly dispose of their hazardous wastes.
  • Some retailers will collect certain universal wastes, such as batteries, electronics, and fluorescent light tubes.
  • Other U-Waste collectors are opening every day.

For information on local collection programs, contact your municipal waste service provider, or you can also access a list of Household Hazardous Waste Program Web links. You can also check http://www.earth911.org for a universal waste collection program near you. Use the toolbar on the left to navigate the site.

For additional questions, you can contact:
Regulatory Assistance Officers
(800) 728-6942, or (800) 72TOXIC
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