The University system is attempting to remove all mercury containing devices that are not essential to operations. These items, including thermostats, thermometers, mercury containing switches, and manometers, are considered a “Universal Waste” and must be handled and disposed of as such. Although not as restrictive as the hazardous waste rules, the universal waste rules still require proper storage and labeling of the waste containers while awaiting disposal or recycling. (Fluorescent lamps also contain mercury and are covered by the Fluorescent Lamp guidance document).
Mercury containing devices will be accumulated and stored in a container in the hazardous waste storage area while awaiting disposal or recycling. The container will be labeled with a Universal Waste label designating the waste a “Universal Waste - mercury containing thermostats” (or thermometers, manometers, or switches, whichever is appropriate). The container must be closed and the beginning date of accumulation must be provided on the container. The date will be modified as appropriate, i.e., upon removal of the items for recycling or disposal and beginning accumulation of new items. Universal waste may be accumulated on site for up to one year.