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Universal Waste and Consumer Electronics

Universal Waste

Universal waste is a category of hazardous waste that is  commonly generated by facilities, laboratories on a daily basis. Examples of universal waste include: Batteries, Fluorescent lamps and Mercury-containing equipment.

For universal waste disposal, please contact hazwaste@stonybrook.edu or call EH&S at (631) 632-9677.

Batteries

With the exception of alkaline batteries, the batteries listed below must be disposed of through EH&S or Stony Brook University's Battery Recycling Program. 

Battery Type
Common Use
Hazard
Lead Acid
Car Batteries, Tools,
Small/ Large Generators
 Lead/
Acid
 Lithium-Ion/
Lithium Metal
Computers,
Cameras, Cell Phones
 Lithium
Mercuric Oxide
Medical Equipment
Mercury
 Nickel-Cadmium/
Nickel Metal Hydride
 Smoke Alarms, Tools,
Small Generators
 Cadmium
 Silver Oxide
Calculators, Watches, Cameras
Silver
Zinc (Button)
Hearing Aids, Cameras
Mercury

Disposal through EH&S is simple. Please e-mail  hazwaste@stonybrook.edu or coordinate with EH&S at their routinely scheduled collection areas listed here

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Environmental Protection Agency

Fluorescent Lamps

Fluorescent lamps contain a small amount of mercury vapor and are managed as universal waste due to this hazardous component. When fluorescent lamps break, the mercury is exposed to the environment and must be treated and handled as hazardous waste. The goal of the University is to keep these lamps intact and out of municipal landfills or incinerators by proper handling and disposal.

Types of Fluorescent Lamps include: Mercury vapor, High-Intensity Discharge (HID), High pressure sodium, Metal halide, UV and Neon.

If you handle fluorescent lamps, please review the following information:

Universal Waste Management Policy

Fluorescent and HID Lamps

For a pickup of large quantities or lamps generated from retrofitting, please e-mail hazwaste@stonybrook.edu.

Mercury-Containing Equipment (MCE)

Mercury-containing equipment is a device or part of a device (e.g. mercury switches in thermostats) that contains elemental mercury that's integral to its function. Types of MCE include the following: barometers, manometers, mercury switches in thermostats and other devices and thermometers.

If the mercury is exposed from the device, it must be handled and managed as hazardous waste.

For all mercury spills, contact University Police at Extension 333 or 631-632-3333.

Mercury in Consumer Products

Mercury-Containing Equipment

Consumer Electronics

Much of today's consumer electronic equipment may contain toxic heavy metals, including lead, mercury and cadmium, which have the potential to contaminate our air and groundwater when improperly disposed of, leading to adverse effects on human health and the environment. By properly recycling/reusing this electronic equipment, it is then diverted from taking up valuable landfill space and from being burned in waste-to-energy facilities. This electronic equipment also contains highly recyclable materials that would otherwise require mining of raw materials from the earth to meet consumer demand for the raw materials needed to manufacture new products.

New York State Law currently regulates manufacturers of covered electronic equipment, requiring them to take back a wide range of electronic waste for recycling or reuse from NYS consumers. As such, consumers should take full advantage of the new opportunities available to them, and will not be allowed to dispose of certain electronic waste in landfills or waste-to-energy facilities in the near future.

The Electronic Equipment Covered by the Law Includes:

  • Televisions
  • Small scale servers
  • Computers &  peripherals (including any cable, cord, or wiring permanently affixed to or incorporated into the computer peripheral.)
  • Monitors
  • Electronic keyboards, electronic mice or similar pointing devices
  • Copy machines, document scanners, and printers (only those intended for use with a computer and weighing less than 100 lbs.)
  • Small electronic equipment (including any cable, cord, or wiring permanently affixed to or incorporated into the small electronic equipment.)
  • VCRs, DVRs
  • Portable music players
  • DVD players, Blu-ray players
  • Digital converter boxes
  • Cable or satellite receivers
  • Electronic or video game consoles

At Stony Brook University, a program is in place that provides for the collection, redistribution and/or recycling of the surplus consumer electronics generated here. Essentially, such consumer electronics can be disposed of through Property Control where they are either redistributed or are prepped for disposal for recycling by the consumer electronics recycling vendor under contract.

To arrange for pickup of surplus consumer electronics, please visit property surplus.

Used Electronic Equipment Proper Handling Practices

The following site management recommendations apply to all SBU employees who handle used electronic equipment:

  1. Used electronic equipment should be protected from weather and stored to protect from breakage. Breakage can result in the used electronic equipment being subject to hazardous waste generator requirements, and can result in lead, cadmium, or mercury contamination.
  2. Employees who handle the used electronic equipment should be made aware of safe handling practices to prevent breakage, and on how to handle any breakage.
  3. Equipment should be stored in an area that is inaccessible to the general public.
  4. Used electronic equipment should not be stored in lieu of disposal. Storage without evidence of the intent to recycle is subject to full hazardous waste regulation.