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Universal Waste

What is Universal Waste?

Universal Waste is a category of waste materials widely produced by households and businesses that is designated as “hazardous waste” and should therefore not be disposed of in the trash.

Examples of universal waste accepted by Covanta include:

  • Lamps
  • Batteries
  • Ballasts (both PCB and Non-PCB)
  • Mercury-containing equipment

Why Recycle Universal Waste?

Today’s society generates waste at an alarming rate, causing a persistent depletion of Earth’s natural resources. By recycling universal waste rather than disposing of it improperly, these natural resources can be recaptured and reused without negatively impacting the environment or people.

Benefits of Recycling Universal Waste:

  • Conserves valuable resources that otherwise would go to waste
  • Saves money
  • Eliminates need to landfill waste
  • Reduces harm to the environment, human health and wildlife

Your Company May Be at Risk if You are Not Recycling

Over the past few years, federal, state and local regulations concerning used and discarded lighting and electronic equipment have become increasingly complex, affecting a wide range of commercial and industrial businesses.

Many of today’s lighting and electronic devices contain hazardous materials such as mercury, lead and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Concerns over inadvertent releases into the air and water are driving stricter disposal regulations.

Hazardous Materials and Their Effects on Human Health and the Environment


Mercury is commonly used in fluorescent lamps, thermometers, thermostats, medical products and electrical equipment. Improper disposal of mercury increases its risk to the environment by contaminating waterways and soil. It has also been linked to health effects, such as impaired cognitive skills and cardiovascular diseases.


Lead is a highly poisonous metal commonly found in cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and batteries. Lead can damage almost every organ system in the body, especially in young children, and can cause lasting growth and developmental problems.

Polychlorinated Biphenyls

Polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs) are industrial chemicals that in the past, were commonly used as coolants and insulating fluids for electrical equipment such as capacitors, transformers and fluorescent light ballasts. PCBs have been shown to cause cancer, as well as a variety of other health effects, leading to a 1979 manufacturing ban on these materials.

Covanta and RECYCLEPAK® Make Recycling Easy

This prepaid recycling program ensures compliant materials handling while reducing the risk of environmental contamination. Items are placed into the convenient prepaid, pre-labeled containers and shipped to a recycling center for proper treatment or treatment. One price includes everything necessary for safe and compliant management of universal waste products.

Verified Liability Protection

You can be confident knowing your hazardous materials will be managed properly, reducing the risk of these wastes ending up in municipal solid waste landfills. After your materials have been received, you can download a recycling certificate for compliance verification.



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