Guide to Universal Waste Management

Sep 15, 2021 | Universal Waste

Creating dedicated space(s) and following storage and labeling requirements is an important part of a facility’s universal waste management. Taking the time to implement streamlined universal waste collection saves time and prevents potential fines for improper disposal. Additionally, it helps protect the environment from any of the hazardous materials found in these common items.


The Basics for Universal Waste Management

  • Train employees in proper universal waste handling – your organization must document this training.
  • Have available leak-proof containers with lids and non-metal containers for batteries and bulbs.
  • Know how to correctly label and date what is in each container by indicating what is inside and when the first item was placed by recording the date.
  • Remove universal waste from the facility for recycling no later than 1 year after the first item was placed in the container – MERI can help you with this!


Waste Categories

blue mercury thermometer icon

Mercury-Containing Equipment

INCLUDES:  Thermostats, Barometers, Mercury Switches, Old Silver Thermometers, and Mercury-Containing Devices

LABEL:  “Waste Mercury-Containing Equipment” and place in a non-metal container

universal waste

WI DNR Mercury-Containing Equipment Guidelines

blue shaded battery drawing


INCLUDES:  Lithium, Lithium-ion, Button, Silver Oxide, Mercury Oxide, Nickel-Metal Hydride, and Sealed Lead-Acid Batteries

LABEL:  “Waste Batteries”, separate by type, tape both ends, and place in a non-metal container

Free Universal Waste Poster

free universal waste poster

MERI Can Help With Your Universal Waste Management

Did you know that MERI can help you with the pickup/removal of the universal waste from your facility? Contact us to learn more.

Contact Us

batteries alkaline in plastic bucket
Bin of used batteries
Batteries stored in plastic containers

fluorescent lightbulb blue icon

Lamps (Lightbulbs):

INCLUDES:  Fluorescent, Mercury Vapor, Metal Halide, High-Pressure Sodium Vapor, UV, Neon, Blacklight, and LED Lamps

LABEL:  “Waste Lamps” and secure to prevent breakage and place in a non-metal container.

batteries alkaline in plastic bucket
universal waste lightbulbs

oil container

Used Oil:

INCLUDES:  Used oil that is not mixed with any other chemicals

LABEL:  “Used Oil” and place in a non-metal container

Used Oil storage

blue icon bottle of antifreeze


INCLUDES:  Antifreeze that is not mixed with any other chemicals

LABEL:  “Used Antifreeze” and place in a non-metal container

WI DNR Antifreeze Storage Guidelines

Pesticide Bottle Icon


INCLUDES:  Pesticides that are recalled, banned, unused or leftover in a spray tank

LABEL:  “Waste Pesticides” and leave original product label on each container

WI DNR Pesticide Storage Guidelines