Environmental Health & Safety

Universal Waste Management Policy

January 2010



In accordance with Amherst College Plans, Policies and Standard Operating Guidelines, the Amherst College Environmental Health & Safety Committee and the Environmental Compliance Committee have instituted this Universal Waste Management Program.


In an effort to better manage our universal wastes, Amherst College has developed and implemented our Universal Waste Management Program. Universal wastes which include fluorescent light tubes, sodium vapor lamps, batteries and computer and television monitors are regulated by the federal and state environmental agencies and are no longer disposed of in the regular waste stream. They are separated from recycling and landfill wastes by Amherst College employees, most notably the custodial staff from the Physical Plant.


The Amherst College Universal Waste Management Program ultimately applies to each and every person on the campus. However, control of the program and the proper handling of the Universal Wastes is primarily the responsibility of the Physical Plant Custodial and Special Service departments. These branches of the Physical Plant identify, package and relocate universal wastes to a central receiving area where the material is either later picked up by an outside vendor or relocated to another location (University of Massachusetts Intermediate Processing Facility) for recycling or reclamation.

Universal Waste Management Program

A. Fluorescent, Mercury and Sodium Vapor Light Bulbs and Tubes
  1. All light bulbs and tubes, with the exception of incandescent bulbs shall be properly handled and packaged by the Custodial, Electrical and other applicable shops when they are being replaced.
  2. Old, burned out lights shall be placed in a size appropriate box that the lights originally came in or a box of equal size that will completely contain the bulb, in case of breakage.
  3. unwanted bulbs that are no longer being used can not be located in any room or area without proper containment.
  1. Have a label affixed to the box that indicates the information below as well as our EPA identification number...
Universal Waste
Fluorescent Lights
Amherst College
  • when full be completely closed and taped to avoid discharge of either glass or powder.
  • Although the universal waste labels have a place for a date, the packager should not fill in the date
  • It is the responsibility of the Special Services Division of the Physical Plant to complete the date at the time the bulbs are placed into Bay 2 of the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Facility.

After the box or boxes of bulbs have been properly packaged and labeled, they shall be placed in the appropriate recycling area where they shall be removed by Special Services. The Special Services Driver / Recycler will then date the label on the box with the date of pickup and deliver the container to Bay 2 of the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Facility located at 2 East Drive, just North of the Physical Plant Garage.

When Bay 2 has been filled with the old, no longer needed light bulbs, the Special Services Supervisor or Environmental Health and Safety Manager will notify the selected waste hauler and ask that the light bulbs be removed.

Because the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Facility is inspected on a weekly basis by the Environmental Health & Safety Manager or his/her designee, notification for pick up by the designated waste hauler happens as needed.

B. Batteries
Batteries, including automobile, alkaline, nickel-cadmium and lead acid are also handled as universal wastes by custodial, electrical and other Physical Plant personnel. Because automobile batteries, nickel-cadmium and lead acid batteries are handled almost exclusively by members of the Physical Plant, control through recycling is fairly easy.
  1. Physical Plant staff can drop batteries off with the Environmental Health & Safety Manager, at the Service Desk, inside the Electrical Shop or place them directly into the designated areas of Bay 3 in the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Building to the North of the Physical Plant Garage.
  2. When these battery recycling containers are full, it is reported to the 5-College Recycling Coordinator at Hampshire College.
  3. The 5-College Recycling Coordinator notifies the designated waste / recycling hauler to remove the old, unwanted batteries
  4. Alkaline batteries, although not mandated to be recycled, are being handled as much as possible as Universal Waste following the guidelines referenced above.
  5. Alkaline batteries are dropped off when no longer useable to the Environmental Health and Safety Manager or the Physical Plant Service Desk by Physical Plant Staff.
  6. After temporarily being stored at these sites in proper containment, the batteries are relocated to Bay 3 of the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Facility where they are placed into designated containers for future pick-up, through the 5-College Recycling Coordinator.
  7. Alkaline battery stations are also found on campus in buildings such as the Music Building, in the main lobby, recycling area.
  8. When the battery container is full, the custodial staff for the building makes a request through Physical Plant Special Services for a pick-up.
  9. The batteries from this location are also delivered to Bay 3 of the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Building for future removal through the 5-College Recycling Coordinator.
  10. Physical Plant Staff handles automobile Batteries only. These batteries are, when no longer used, placed into Bay 3 of the Hazardous / Universal Waste Storage Building by the Physical Plant Mechanic.
  11. When appropriate, the Physical Plant Mechanic notifies an authorized distributor to come and remove the batteries from the above referenced waste facility.
[Quick Links]
Quick Links
  • Chemical Inventory System
  • Incident Report Forms
  • MSDS On-Line
  • Permit Application Forms – Town of Amherst
  • Sustainability
  • Water Quality Report – Town of Amherst