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Resources Available for Businesses​​


Northern Virginia Regional Commission Universal Waste Educational Publications

The Northern Virginia Regional Commission offers Spring training regarding safety, handling, and management of universal wastes.


The following materials may be helpful to businesses regarding universal waste and electronics:

Selecting a Contractor

Selecting a Contractor

How does disposal work?

Several disposal service options are available, so you can customize services as needed for your unique business.

  • If your business generates only a small amount of lamps and batteries, recycling can be facilitated through a "box program."

    • In a box program, a container is provided to the owner/manager who fills it.

    • When the container is full, it can be sent to a recycler via a prepaid ground mail shipment program.

    • Labels and shipping papers are provided to the building owner/manager by the recycling company.

  • If your business generates large amounts of lamps and batteries, recyclers can arrange “milk-run” pick-ups.

    • Waste is picked up by a vendor on a scheduled basis and transported to a certified reclamation or recycling facility.

    • If your business generates very large amounts of used universal waste lamps, these can be picked up in trailer loads as needed.

  • When preparing batteries for storage and eventual disposal, it is important to follow safe storage procedures to avoid injury, property damage, and liability risk.

    • These procedures include discharging terminals with non-electrical duct tape and ensuring that casing has not been damaged.

  • For materials other than lamps and batteries, contact a disposal contractor to discuss options that best suit your business needs.


What factors should I consider in choosing a contractor?

  • The most crucial factors in selecting a universal waste or electronics disposal contractor are verifying their credentials and trusting in their expertise, as they'll be responsible for fulfilling your legal obligation to properly dispose of these wastes

  • In selecting a recycling contractor that will best serve your needs, you also must get the assurance that your universal waste and discarded electronics are properly managed to minimize your liabilities

  • State and federal regulations hold the generator/accumulator (your business) liable for proper reclamation/recycling

  • Be sure to choose a reputable firm to assist you in implementing your management program

  • For more information on the location and handling status of contractors in your area, visit the EPA RCRA (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) Envirofacts database.*

You will also want to consider the following factors:

  • Pricing - While pricing is important, as with many services, you usually get what you pay for. It is suggested that you scrutinize what services your prospective contractor is offering and to get more than one quote for your needs

  • Service - Important items for consideration include: responsiveness, timeliness, program flexibility and customization, contractor personnel, whether there will be intermediaries involved, the capabilities of the firm, and the equipment they will be using

  • Risk Management - Recyclers, as destination facilities, are obligated to reduce or eliminate pollution risks for their clients. In order to remove the mercury from the used bulbs, recyclers must comply with numerous federal and state regulations


Find private companies that provide these services

Additional factors for evaluating recyclers include:

  • Whether they meet insurance requirements for general and pollution liability

  • Financial health of the company

  • What indemnities or other assurances they offer clients

  • Their environmental record and compliance history

  • Existence of government permits and approvals for facility operation or transportation

  • Operations, safety procedures, and records

  • Vapor control technology and monitoring records

  • Hygiene and medical surveillance information

  • Status of a facility closure plan

  • Facility audit reports

  • Availability of key regulatory contacts

Community Resources

Community Resources

Industry Groups and Non Profits

  • Greener Gadgets*- program operated by Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), a trade association that promotes growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, and the fostering of business and strategic relationships.

  • Go Recycle*- Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) site with recycling resources pertinent to the Metropolitan Washington DC area

  • Call2Recycle*- A product stewardship program that provides battery and cell phone recycling solutions.

  • Earth 911*- provides information on helping the environment as well as local resources for recycling many household items including fluorescent bulbs, batteries and electronics 

  • Product Stewardship Institute*- a national non-profit membership-based organization that works with state and local government agencies to partner with manufacturers, retailers, environmental groups, federal agencies, and other key stakeholders to reduce the health and environmental impacts of consumer products.

  • Association of Lighting and Mercury Recyclers*- a non-profit organization representing members of the recycling industry

  • Environment, Health and Safety Online*- information on recycling fluorescent bulbs and ballasts

  •*- a resource for any light bulb ("lamp") user seeking details on recycling spent mercury-containing lamps

  • Northeast Waste Management Officials' Association*- an interstate association of solid waste and hazardous waste programs in the Northeast United States. The website, aimed at businesses, provides information on the proper management and disposal of fluorescent bulbs

Retailers and Associations with Take-Back Programs

  • Best Buy*- offers free in-store recycling kiosks for TVs, VCRs, DVD players, cell phones, rechargeable batteries, cameras, ink-jet cartridges, CDs, DVDs, PDAs, and smart phones. The website offers a complete list with specifications.  

  • Home Depot*- take-back program for compact fluorescent light bulbs

  • Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation*- a non-profit public service organization that operates the Call2Recycle® program, and its rechargeable battery and cell phone recycling program

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

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