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Do you have a plan for managing bulbs, batteries, ballasts, mercury-containing equipment, computers, monitors, fax machines, copiers, walkie-talkies, phones, televisions, beepers, cell phones and all that other good stuff? Join us! “Universal waste” refers to commonly discarded products, including batteries, pesticides, thermostats, and lamps, and may also include antifreeze or computers, depending upon your state's universal waste rule. Universal wastes, if not recycled, exhibit characteristics of hazardous materials and must be managed as hazardous wastes. Because universal wastes are commonly used products and pose a relatively low risk during accumulation and transport, managing these wastes by recycling them according to universal waste guidelines facilitates environmentally-sound collection and increased recycling of these materials.

Federal Universal Waste Guidelines

Federal regulations have streamlined hazardous waste management standards for the federal universal wastes (batteries, pesticides, thermostats, and lamps). The regulations govern the collection and management of these widely generated wastes. These regulations are set forth in There is also a link to state by state guidance. Check it out! While not all computers contain mercury, electronic equipment will be included in this teleconference. It seems logical to address batteries, bulbs and electronics as a group, but within your facility, this may include various departments, so as with most initiatives, a diverse team approach is key to success. Potential members would include but not be limited to engineering, environmental services, information systems, purchasing, safety and biomedical engineering, to name a few. Check with your group purchasing organization to see if there are contracts in place for management of universal wastes and electronics. H2E advocates for recycling of all bulbs, even lower mercury ones. In fact, to be eligible for H2E's Making Medicine Mercury Free Award, your facility must recycle bulbs. Electronics waste is the fastest growing waste material. Due to HIPAA regulations, proper clearing of hard drives prior to recycling or refurbishment is a must! This can either be done onsite or part of the contract for electronic disposition.

Takehome Value

If you aren't segregating universal wastes and electronics for recycling, the time is now! And if you are, it may be helpful to listen to the presentation to fine-tune your program to ensure compliance. Learn what questions should be asked and written into your contract to ensure proper management of materials. This teleconference will enable you to ensure compliance with the EPA's Universal Waste Rule and manage electronic waste appropriately.

Additional Resources

EPA's Universal Waste Page

Health Care Without Harm Electronics Page

Environmental Protection Agency's 1991 Electronics – A New Opportunity for Waste Prevention, Reuse and Recycling ( Includes resources for finding recyclers.

Lamp Recycler Directory:
(Not an endorsement - check with your Group Purchasing Organization to see if a contract is in place for your facility.)

International Association of Electronic Recyclers –
(Not an endorsement - check with your Group Purchasing Organization to see if a contract is in place for your facility.)

Group Purchasing Organizations - Do you know who your Group Purchasing Organization is? (If not, contact your Purchasing Department and find out!)
Amerinet –
Associated Purchasing Services -
Broadlane -
Consorta -
MedAssets -
Novation -
Premier -


Janet Brown, H2E
After working as the Medical Waste Manager for 13 years at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City, Janet joined H2E as the Partner Coordinator in 2004. Janet works with individual partner facilities in their data collection, goal setting, implementation and maintenance of environmental programs. In her years at Beth Israel, Janet worked with staff to improve segregation of RMW, resulting in over $1,000,000 in cost savings per year, system wide. Cost savings through improved material management resulted in a senior level commitment to environmental management programs.

Kathleen Malone, EPA Region 2
Kathleen Malone graduated Magna Cum Laude from Mount Holyoke College with a B.A. in math and economics. After graduation, she spent two years at an economic consulting firm in Cambridge, MA before joining the EPA in 1992. Until May of 1998, she was an air inspector for EPA’s Region II office which governs New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. She currently works for the Region’s Compliance Assistance and Program Support Branch where she is trying to help businesses and federal facilities understand and comply with environmental regulations and promote pollution prevention as the preferred method of environmental protection.

Sarah Westervelt, Basel Action Network
Sarah Westervelt is the e-Waste Project Coordinator at the Basel Action Network (BAN). This project includes promoting programs such as the Electronic Recycler's Pledge of True Stewardship and other market-based solutions, educating the public about the global toxics issues associated with exporting e-waste, as well as highlighting the worst-case scenarios. Recent exposés include films and reports documenting horrific recycling of the world's e-waste in China and Nigeria. Through programs, policy analysis, and education, the e-Waste Project provides support to states, local jurisdictions, manufacturers, and waste generators of all sizes and types to go beyond inadequate federal policies on e-waste, and to better understand existing international laws that pertain to the trade in toxic wastes, as well as the principle of environmental justice. Sarah has a Master's Degree in Organizational Systems Renewal from Antioch University, and worked for years as a consultant in organizational development before joining the Basel Action Network.

Webinar speakers have no financial or other interest in the sponsoring company and the sponsor has had no input into the content of the presentation.

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