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State Requirements for Spent Lamp Management

Fluorescent and other mercury lamps must be managed as hazardous waste, according to the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Universal Waste Rule. To ease the regulatory burden, however, the EPA allows businesses to manage spent mercury lamps as a special category of hazardous waste, called "universal waste." Universal wastes qualify for simplified handling, record keeping, and disposal requirements.

All of the NEWMOA states have adopted EPA's Universal Waste Rule, but some have passed more stringent requirements. Some states, in particular, require all mercury lamps, regardless of mercury content, to be recycled or managed as hazardous waste. The EPA Universal Waste Rule allows mercury lamps with low mercury content-those that pass the TCLP test for mercury-to be disposed in the regular trash. Nevertheless, EPA and the states that adopted its rule "as is" urge lamp users to manage all spent mercury lamps as hazardous waste, regardless of mercury content.

The following summarizes the management requirements of waste fluorescent lamps across the Northeast. For regulations by state, jump to the State Specific Regulations.

Disposal Bans:

  • Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New York*, Rhode Island, and Vermont require any type of mercury-added lamp used in commercial, industrial, or institutional facilities to be managed as a universal or hazardous waste. This means all mercury-added lamps must be treated, disposed, or recycled at an authorized destination facility. Households must also comply in Maine, Massachusetts, and Vermont.
  • New Hampshire and New Jersey require commercial, industrial, and institutional facilities to manage all mercury-added lamps failing TCLP for mercury as universal or hazardous wastes. This means that all mercury-added lamps failing the TCLP must be treated, disposed, or recycled at an authorized destination facility.

Written Notification for Large Use Lamp Purchasers:

  • Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island require vendors selling mercury-added lamps to the owner or manager of an industrial, commercial, or office building, or to any person who replaces or removes from service outdoor mercury-containing lamps, to inform these customers that the lamps contain mercury and may not be placed in solid waste destined for disposal. This notification must be given in writing on the invoice. Retail establishments are exempt.
  • Connecticut and Maine additionally require contractors removing such lamps from commercial property to inform the property owner in writing that the lamps contain mercury and cannot be disposed in the regular trash, and to provide a plan for proper management of the lamps.

State Specific Regulations:

State Link Contact
Connecticut http://www.ct.gov/deep/cwp/view.asp?a=2708&q=378846&deepNav_GID=1763%20 Tom Metzner
Maine http://www.maine.gov/dep/homeowner/fluorescent.html

Elena Bertocci

Massachusetts http://www.mass.gov/eea/agencies/massdep/toxics/sources/fluorescent-and-mercury-added-light-bulbs.html Suzi Peck
New Hampshire http://des.nh.gov/organization/commissioner/p2au/pps/ppuwmp/lamps.htm Stephanie D'Agostino
New Jersey http://www.nj.gov/dep/dshw/lrm/uwaste/ Robin Heston
New York http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/9088.html Peter Van Erp
Rhode Island http://www.dem.ri.gov/programs/wastemanagement/facilities/mercury.php Beverly Migliore
Vermont http://www.mercvt.org/dispose/lamps.htm Karen Knaebel

* Small businesses in New York with 100 or less employees generating 15 or less waste lamps per month are not required to manage as hazardous waste TCLP-passing lamps.



Last Modified 08/25/2020

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