Batteries as Universal Waste

Jun 18, 2024 | EPA, Universal Waste

Facilities can handle hazardous batteries as universal waste. The benefit is that the requirements for handling these types of batteries under universal waste standards are less stringent than those for hazardous waste, allowing them to be collected, stored, and transported more easily. Easing the regulatory burden encourages recycling and proper disposal of these batteries.


Hazardous Batteries That Are Manageable As Universal Waste:

  • Lithium and lithium-ion (li-ion)
  • Nickel-metal hydride (Ni-Mh)
  • Rechargeable nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cd)
  • Button batteries
  • Sealed lead-acid batteries


How to Handle Batteries as Universal Waste (per WI DNR Universal Waste Guidelines):

Train – Educate all employees who handle universal waste and document this training. Document the training.

Tape – Protect the terminal ends of batteries with tape or individually bag them. Terminal protection prevents the batteries from starting a fire.

Contain – Place batteries in a closed, nonmetal, leak-proof container. Metal can cause the battery to overheat.

Date & Label – Each container must be labeled with the date the first battery was placed inside. Label each container as “Universal Waste—Batteries” or “Waste Batteries”.

Remove—Batteries must be removed from the facility for recycling within one year of the date on the container. Use an appropriate facility or universal waste handler for removal.

Alkaline batteries are not hazardous and may be recycled or disposed of as household or commercial waste. They do not need to be managed as universal waste. Additionally, universal waste requirements differ by state. Refer to your state’s specific guidelines.

If your facility has batteries that meet the definition of hazardous waste, use a trusted disposal facility like MERI, a division of Logistics Recycling Inc., to assist you with managing this waste under universal waste regulations. By following these standards, you can ensure the environmentally sound collection, management, and recycling of batteries.


Additional Resources for Universal Waste Management of Batteries:

Battery Recycling for Businesses (WI):

How to Handle Batteries as Universal Waste:


Recycle Your Batteries with MERI