Texas Tech University

Recyclable Waste Streams

Some of the universal wastes collected by EHS are also considered as Universal waste, which is defined according to Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) in part 273 and state regulations Title 30 Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Part 335. Universal wastes are wastes that meet the following criteria:

  • Generated in a wide variety of setting, not solely industrial
  • Generated by a vast community
  • Present in significant volumes in nonhazardous management systems

Texas Tech University is considered a large-quantity handler because of the total amount of universal waste generated by campus activities. According to CFR 273.36, the large-quantity handler must “ensure that all employees are familiar” with proper waste handling and emergency procedure.

Types of Recyclable Waste

  • Lamps, lightbulbs – includes fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, and metal halide lamps
  • Batteries (waste or unused)
  • Pesticides 
  • Mercury-containing equipment – includes thermostats, barometers, thermometers
  • Paint and paint-related material (e.g., tarps, brushers, rollers, etc.)
  • Ballasts (Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) / Non-PCB)

Texas Tech University handles PCB / Non-PCB Ballast, Emergency Ballast, Wound Motors and Toner Cartridge waste streams as Universal Waste Recycling.

Accumulation Procedure

Wear PPE appropriate to your task including, but not limited to, appropriate gloves, eye and body protection, and foot protection. 


  • All light bulbs must be placed in a cardboard box and closed properly. 
  • Pack container to try to prevent bulb breakage.
  • NEVER tape light bulbs together.
  • All boxes must be labeled with a Universal Waste Label and be completed correctly. Provide an approximate number of bulbs on the label.


  • Nickel-cadmium and sealed lead-acid batteries are subject to universal waste procedures.
  • Collect batteries in an appropriate container (e.g., cardboard box) and label with a correctly completed Universal Waste Label.
  • Alkaline batteries can be disposed of in the regular trash. 


  • Collection includes agricultural pesticides that are recalled under certain conditions or unused pesticides that are collected and managed as part of a waste pesticide collection program.
  • Label each pesticide container with a Universal Waste Label.


  • Mercury-containing equipment includes barometers, thermometers, thermostats, manometers, temperature and pressure gauges and mercury switches should be submitted to EHS for proper disposal. 
If you have a mercury spill from a compromised mercury container, call EHS immediately at 806-742-3876 for mercury cleanup. Do not attempt to clean spilled mercury by yourself.


All paint and paint-related material should be submitted to EHS for proper disposal including:

  • Used or unused paint
  • Spent solvents used in painting
  • Wet PPE, rags, gloves, tarps, debris, etc. contaminated from painting operations. Dry items may be discarded as municipal garbage.
  • Coating waste paint, overrun paints, paint filters, paint booth stripping materials, paint sludges from water-wash curtains
  • Cleanup residues from spills of paint, paint-removal activities and any other paint related wastes generated as a result of the removal of paint


Most fluorescent light fixtures contain ballasts which regulate the flow of electricity to the lamps. Some ballasts contain regulated material: circuit boards (electronic waste), PCBs (toxic chemical) and batteries.  For these reasons, some ballasts must be collected by EHS. 

Rules for proper accumulation of ballasts include:

  • Always segregate PCB and Non-PCB ballasts in separate containers 
  • Non-PCB ballasts will have markings stating “No PCBs” and text reading “electronic ballast”. If you do not see this test, treat the ballast as PCB-containing.
  • EHS can deny the request if the drum is over-filled, not segregated or is labeled improperly.


  • Pack cartridges in a box and label with a correctly completed Universal Waste Label. 
  • Cartridges can also be labeled and mailed to EHS at Mail Stop 1090 or dropped off at the main office in the Administrative Support Center, Room 122.

Click here to submit a waste collection request.