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Does your business or institution use lamps? If so, it’s important that you are aware of Ohio EPA’s requirements related to disposal of lamps. Businesses, schools, retail stores, restaurants, offices and other non-household operations that generate waste lamps are subject to Ohio EPA’s rules. If you are throwing your lamps in the dumpster, you may be illegally disposing of hazardous waste.
The term lamps encompasses all types of common light bulbs and lamps, including:
Lamps can contain mercury and other heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and barium. If the lamps contain these metals over certain limits in the hazardous waste rules, the lamps, when they are disposed of or recycled, are classified as a hazardous waste. Hazardous waste lamps that are improperly disposed of lead to environmental contamination and pose a threat to public health.
Before you throw your lamps in the trash, you must evaluate them to determine if they are hazardous. To do this, you can:
There are two methods for managing your hazardous waste lamps. Ohio EPA recommends that you manage your waste lamps under the Universal Waste Rules (UWR) found in Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) Chapter 3745-273.
The UWR streamlines collection requirements for lamps. Many businesses find managing used lamps under the UWR eliminates many regulatory requirements and is easily implemented as part of their recycling programs. By following the UWR, your business can reduce the financial and regulatory requirements of managing hazardous waste and can help protect the environment. If you do not manage your hazardous waste lamps under the UWR, then you must manage them under Ohio EPA’s hazardous waste rules found in OAC Chapter 3745-52.
Managing waste lamps as universal waste requires that you store, label and dispose of them in a specific manner. Most businesses are small quantity handlers of universal waste, accumulating less than 11,000 pounds (5,000 kg or approximately 17,000 four-foot lamps) of universal waste at any time. The UWR requires a small quantity handler to:
You can only send or take your waste lamps to another UW handler or to a permitted destination facility (if in Ohio). Ohio EPA maintains a list of recyclers on our Fluorescent Lamp website. If you transport your own waste lamps to either another universal waste handler or to a universal waste destination facility you must comply with the universal waste transporter requirements.
If you manage waste lamps under the UWR you are not allowed to crush them. If you want to crush your own lamps you must either manage them under the hazardous waste rules following the generator requirements in OAC Chapter 3745-52, or evaluate the spent lamps to demonstrate that they are non-hazardous.
Read more about proper management of lamps in Ohio EPA’s Managing Fluorescent Lamps fact sheet. Small businesses can also contact the Office of Compliance Assistance and Pollution Prevention (OCAPP) at (614) 644-3469 or (800) 329-7518 for free help. OCAPP is a non-regulatory office of Ohio EPA with a goal of helping small businesses understand and comply with the environmental requirements.
Division of Environmental and Financial Assistance
Compliance Assistance Hotline: (800) 329-7518
Funding: (614) 644-2798 ~ Fax: (614) 644-3687 ~ Contact Us
Compliance: (614) 644-3469 ~ Fax: (614) 644-2807 ~ Contact Us
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 1049, Columbus, OH 43216-1049
Street Address: 50 West Town Street, Suite 700, Columbus, OH 43215
Report a Spill, Release or Environmental Crime
(800) 282-9378 or (614) 224-0946
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