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Getting Started: A Guide to Universal Waste Management
The following  guide will help guide a business to

  • Understand what universal waste is and why it should be handled differently 
  • Learn and understand where a business fits in the regulatory scheme, and what your requirements are
  • Safely store and manage universal waste to minimize liability, risk, and hazard
  • Develop a long-term management strategy to deal with your universal wastes
  • Learn about disposal options, how to find and select a contractor, and how Certification works
  • Develop a list of resources and contacts for more information 

 

Part I: Getting to Know Toxics


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Part II: Where Does my Business Fall?

Depending on the types and quantity of hazardous waste your business produces, it will fall under different regulatory categories. Once you determine the type of waste your business generates / accumulates (hazardous or universal), and then the quantity you generate (create) and accumulate (store), you can take steps to ensure responsible management using the resources provided on this website.

Hazardous Waste
If your business generates, stores, or transports significant quantities of hazardous waste, such as chemical solvents, chlorinated hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, or petroleum refinery byproducts, your business is subject to federal US Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) hazardous waste regulations* and state Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) hazardous waste regulations.*

Hazardous Waste generator regulatory categories are:
1) Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generators (CESQG)
2) Small Quantity Generators (SQG)
3) Large Quantity Generators (LQG)

A summary chart of these categories is provided by the USEPA and can be found here.*

If your business is a CESQG, meaning it generates less than 220 pounds (100 kilograms) of hazardous waste per month and you store less than 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilograms) on site, then it is exempt from registration only if the waste is properly handled, stored, transported, and disposed. A CESQG is not exempt from liability. The Know Toxics website offers a list of local certified contractors capable of transporting and disposing of hazardous wastes. 

Universal Waste
Many businesses regularly accumulate small quantities of common universal wastes, such as batteries, lamps, mercury-containing equipment, and pesticides. Due to the high volume of generation from just about every type of operation or facility and the ability to recycle or manage these wastes in an environmentally low-risk manner, the requirements for managing universal wastes are greatly reduced as compared to those applicable to hazardous waste. Businesses that accumulate universal wastes are subject to federal USEPA universal waste regulations and VADEQ universal waste regulations.*

The categories include
1) Small Quantity Handlers of Universal Waste (SQHUW), and
2) Large Quantity Handlers of Universal Waste (LQHUW).

A summary chart of these categories is provided by the USEPA and can be found here.*

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (VADEQ) adopted federal EPA Universal Waste regulations with a few additional state requirements. The DEQ Universal Waste management website
* references both federal and state requirements.

More links to federal and state universal waste resources

If your business is a SQHUW, meaning it accumulates less than 11,000 pounds (5,000 kilograms) of universal waste on site at any one time, then it is exempt from regulation only if the waste is properly handled, stored, transported, and disposed. A SQHUW is not exempt from liability. The Know Toxics website is intended to facilitate understanding of responsible waste handling and refer businesses to local certified contractors capable of transporting and disposing of universal wastes. 

To learn about handling and storage requirements, regardless of quantity, as well as find a contractor to meet your needs, explore Part III of the Guide.

Part III: Where Do I Go From Here?

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This guide is in Beta version. Information is still being added and updated. For questions and comments, please contact us.


*External link. The Northern Virginia Regional Commission does not author third party sites and their reference is for educational purposes only.

 
Know Toxics, A Project of the Northern Virginia Waste Management Board, C/O Northern Virginia Regional Commission
3040 Williams Drive, Suite 200  Fairfax, VA 22031  703-642-0700 (Voice)  Email Us