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Universal Wastes

Florida universal wastes include most rechargeable batteries; pesticides that are recalled or collected under a pesticide waste collection program; mercury-containing devices such as manometers and switches; mercury-containing lamps such as fluorescent lamps that are recycled, and aerosol cans.

A handler of universal wastes can be a person who receives universal waste from other handlers, accumulates the waste, and then sends it on to other handlers, recyclers, or treatment or disposal facilities without performing the actual treatment, recycling, or disposal. This may include a person who collects batteries, pesticides, or mercury-containing equipment from small businesses and sends the waste to a recycling facility. The universal waste handler requirements depend on how much universal waste a handler accumulates at any one time. No universal waste handlers may accumulate universal waste for longer than one year from when it is generated or received.

There are four types of regulated participants in the universal waste system: small quantity handlers of universal waste (SQH), large quantity handlers of universal waste (LQH), universal waste transporters, and universal waste destination facilities.

  • Small quantity handlers (SQH) of universal waste accumulate less than 5,000 kilograms (kg) (approximately 11,000 pounds) of all universal waste categories combined at their locations at any time. SQHs are required to manage universal waste in a way that prevents releases to the environment. SQH must also immediately respond to releases of universal waste. SQH must distribute basic waste handling and emergency information to their employees to ensure that their staff is aware of proper handling and emergency procedures.

  • Large quantity handlers (LQH) of universal waste accumulate a total of 5,000 kg or more of universal waste at any time. The designation as an LQH is retained for the remainder of the calendar year in which the 5,000-kg threshold was exceeded, and may be re-evaluated in the following calendar year. LQH must comply with the same requirements as SQH, as well as maintain all documents detailing shipments to and from the facility, must obtain an EPA ID number, and must comply with stricter employee training requirements.

  • Universal waste transporters are persons who transport universal waste from SQH or LQH to other handlers, destination facilities, or foreign destinations. These wastes do not need to be accompanied by an RCRA hazardous waste manifest during transport, but records must be kept documenting shipments. Transporters must comply with applicable DOT requirements. Storage of hazardous waste or universal waste at a transfer facility is limited to 10 days or less.

  • Universal waste destination facilities are facilities that treat, dispose of or recycle a particular category of universal waste. These facilities are subject to the same requirements as fully regulated hazardous waste treatment, storage and disposal facilities. Full regulation includes permit requirements.

Return to the Hazardous Waste Management webpage.
Last Modified:
February 3, 2023 - 9:08am

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