Laws and Regulations
Information on Spent Lighting
A Summary of the Universal Waste Rule and RCRA Subtitle C Hazardaous Waste Regulations fo Businesses.
- The Federal Rules
- RCRA and UWR Definitions
- Who does this rule apply to?
- Where can the waste go?
- How does using the UWR to recycle simplify disposal?
State Strigency Comparisons
EPA Fact Sheet
The Federal RulesUsed mercury-containing lighting products (also known as spent lamps or bulbs) 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. Anyone who chooses lamp recycling under universal waste regulations will generally have reduced regulatory burden and costs.
If this is the option that you have chosen, it is important to know that there are certain requirements that you must adhere to. Lamps that are sent for recycling under the Universal Waste Rule have less stringent requirements for storage, record keeping and transportation as compared to the requirements of the full Subtitle C hazardous waste regulations. Regardless of how you choose to manage your waste, you must be thoroughly acquainted with both state and federal regulations in order to determine how they apply to you.
Please review the State-by-State Stringency Comparison Table.