- What types of universal waste do I have?
- Is my current packaging secure or does it compromise my waste in any way?
- Are there any packaging restrictions that apply to my waste?
- Am I taking advantage of my available storage space?
Here are some packaging options for common universal wastes:
Lamp Barrels – Fluorescent Lamps, HIDs, CFLs, Miscellaneous Bulbs
Handling fluorescent lamps is a delicate task. They break easily and are difficult to clean up when they do. Not to mention, they contain mercury and can be dangerous if you become exposed to it. It is important to keep your old fluorescent lamps in a safe, protected container for transport and storage.
There are a few options when it comes to storing lamps. A common solution is to re-use the boxes that your new lamps come in. These boxes can adequately store and protect your spent lamps. They stack great on pallets and are easy to move. The downside, however, is their durability. Keep your boxed lamps raised off the ground and away from water to avoid having them become soaked and useless. Boxes are a great receptacle if kept intact.
Fiber drums, or lamp barrels, are another great storage alternative. The 4’ barrels are ideal for fluorescent lamps. These drums maximize storing capacity while minimizing storage space. They can hold over 300 T8 or 170 T12 tubes at one time. 2’ barrels are also available and are perfect for storing HIDs, CFLs, or smaller linear fluorescent lamps. There is very little hassle with these barrels. Just take the lid off and load in your spent lamps. Additionally, these barrels are easy to maneuver with a drum dolly and are generally a best-practice solution when it comes to storing fluorescent lamps for recycling.
It is not advised to tape lamps together for transport.
UN Rated Plastic Containers – Batteries, Ballasts, Mercury
Federal regulations have drastically changed the recycling process. Transporting universal waste isn’t as easy as it once was. Any potential threat must be addressed. Under these regulations all batteries, mercury, PCB Ballast, aerosols, Hazardous waste, and many more wastes are required to be transported in UN approved containers.
UN rated containers can be found in a variety of shapes and sizes. They are usually made out of a durable plastic and have tightening lids in order to prevent possible spills. The DOT requires packaging that could withstand accidents while in transit and limit any of the potentially harmful materials to be exposed on the road. If you are unsure whether your containers are UN approved, be sure to look for the official UN approved symbol.
Read more about specific battery packaging requirements.
Steel Drums – Hazardous waste, PCB Ballasts, Oil Based Paint
The 55 gallon steel drum is the go-to for Hazardous materials and chemicals. They are a great receptacle for number of hazardous items. Customers have found that consolidating* excess amounts of hazardous chemicals (oil based paint, used oil, etc.) can simplify the recycling process. They are also perfect for PCB ballasts and capacitors. *Always be sure that waste consolidation is done by a trained professional.
The downside to steel barrels is their weight. Avoid overfilling the drums with materials and chemicals. While they are capable of holding large amounts of waste, it will not matter it is too heavy to move.
Gaylord boxes – E-waste, Small Appliances
Electronics can be difficult to keep organized. Stacking your electronics on pallets can be a simple solution; however, they do not always stack easily. There are no universal dimensions when it comes to e-waste. The shapes can range from monitors, tube TVs, printers, circuit boards, paper shredders, to endless other examples. The easiest way to package large amounts of e-waste is by using Gaylord boxes. These boxes are a cubic yard and can hold over one thousand pounds of waste. They are ideal for large, bulky items and are effortless to move with a pallet jack or fork lift.
Every situation is different when it comes to storing universal waste for recycling. There are plenty of packaging options available that will save you time and effort. Find what works best to meet your goals and needs. Talk to an expert if you are unsure of packaging restrictions or handling procedures.