United States               Solid Waste and          EPA530-F-99-024
               Environmental Protection Agency   Emergency Response            July 1999
                                      (5305W)               www.epa.gov/osw

               Office of Sol id Waste
c/EPA    Environmental
               Fact  Sheet
               Some Used Lamps Are Universal Wastes

                  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is promoting the safe recycling
               and disposal of certain used lamps, especially fluorescent and high intensity
               discharge (HID) lamps. The Agency believes that this waste can be better
               managed under EPA's universal waste program, and is therefore adding used
               hazardous waste lamps to its universal waste rule. This approach will achieve
               better control of hazardous emissions while streamlining many regulatory
               requirements for industry. It will also encourage the manufacture of low-mercury
               lamps and will make the requirements for handling and disposal of these materials
               consistent with many state programs.

   To streamline environmental regulations for wastes  that are generated by large
numbers of businesses in relatively small quantities, EPA issued the universal
waste rule in 1995. It is designed to reduce the amount  of hazardous waste items in
the municipal solid waste stream; encourage the recycling and proper disposal of
some common hazardous wastes; and reduce the regulatory burden on businesses
that generate these wastes.

   Universal wastes are usually items commonly thrown into the trash by
households and small businesses (such as batteries, thermostats, and obsolete
agricultural pesticides). Although handlers of universal wastes must meet less
stringent standards for storing, transporting, and collecting wastes, the wastes
must comply with full hazardous waste requirements for final recycling, treatment,
or disposal. This management structure removes these wastes from municipal
landfills and incinerators, which provides stronger safeguards for public health and
the environment.

   Before this rule, many used lamps had to be disposed of as hazardous waste
because they frequently contain mercury, and sometimes lead. The decision to
classify discarded hazardous waste lamps as universal wastes was based on
comments received on EPA's 1994 proposal for managing such lamps, and on a 1997
study of mercury emissions from discarded lamps. The study showed that these
emissions would be reduced under the universal waste approach.

   Hazardous waste lamps are added to the federal list of universal wastes
regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Regulating
these lamps as a universal waste under 40 CFR Part 273 provides better
management of them and facilitates compliance with RCRA hazardous waste
requirements. This rule also makes the federal requirements for this waste more
consistent with many state programs. Participation in energy-efficient lighting
schemes under EPA's Green Lights program is not affected by this rule.

For More Information
   The Federal Register notice, this fact sheet, and related documents are available
on the Internet at . For additional
information or to order paper copies of any documents, call the RCRA Hotline.
Callers within the Washington Metropolitan Area must dial 703-412-9810 or TDD
703-412-3323 (hearing impaired). Long-distance callers may call 1-800-424-9346 or
TDD 1-800-553-7672. The RCRA Hotline operates weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Address written requests to: RCRA-Docket@epa.gov or RCRA Information Center
(5305W), US EPA, 401 M  Street SW, Washington, DC 20460.