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State Universal Waste Resources

What You Need to Know

In Wisconsin the Department of Natural Resources enforces the hazardous waste regulations, including the universal waste rule. If you have any questions, contact someone at Hazardous Waste Regulatory Program.

Wisconsin's Universal Waste Rule covers the following wastes: batteries (e.g., certain lead-acid batteries not recycled under other regulations; 9-volt, D, C, AA, and AAA nickel-cadmium; button silver oxide coin- and button lithium and various sizes of lithium ion, recalled and other pesticides; mercury containing thermostats and electric lamps (e.g., fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, high pressure, sodium, metal halide and mercury vapor). Wisconsin's Universal Waste Guidance covers the following additional wastes: antifreeze and other mercury containing equipment. Certain other battery types (e.g. alkaline and carbon zinc cells that have been manufactured without mercury) may not be classified as hazardous wastes, and would therefore not fall under the Universal Waste Rule. However, as a matter of responsible practice, such batteries should be collected and sent to recycling facilities, rather than being landfilled.

Read the above regulations, talk to someone at the Hazardous Waste Regulatory Program and use the other resources found below to learn more about these rules. Here’s what to look for and ask about:

  • Do I need to register as a universal waste handler?
  • What waste accumulation and storage requirements apply?
  • Do I need to label universal waste storage containers?
  • Where can I dispose of universal waste?
  • What waste transportation and disposal requirements apply?
  • Are there any employee training requirements?
  • Are there any tracking, reporting and recordkeeping requirements?

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