RECYCLING REGULATIONS & RESOURCES
Fluorescent lamps, high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, mercury devices, and batteries contain toxic heavy metals including mercury. Most of these wastes are regulated by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a universal waste. In addition to federal regulations, many states and local municipalities abide by even stricter regulations, and many wastes are banned by companies operating landfills. Federal regulations also require businesses to properly dispose of spent tritium exit signs and smoke detectors due to mildly radioactive components that are regulated by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC).
Where to find Regulations about Recycling
Used mercury-containing lighting products, batteries, and mercury devices (such as thermostats) are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Universal Waste Rule (UWR), which is a subset of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C hazardous waste regulations. Most states have adopted these rules, and several have adopted regulations that are more stringent than the UWR.
The federal hazardous waste rules are a complex set of regulations affecting all aspects of waste management. They are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR Parts 260-279). The Universal Waste Rule is a subset of these regulations which streamlines the management of selected common hazardous waste products. These products include batteries, certain pesticides, thermostats, and lamps. In general, this rule prohibits spent lamp disposal in municipal landfills. It is important that you are acquainted with both state and federal regulations to determine how they apply to you.