Universal Wastes

The City of Old Town Wants You to Know:
Currently, the City of Old Town Transfer Station is accepting household Universal Wastes.  Universal Wastes are wastes that may contain hazardous amounts of toxic materials such as mercury, lead, and PCB's.  They include:

  • CRTs-Cathode Ray Tubes (computer monitors, TVs)
  • Fluorescent light bulbs (a.k.a. "lamps")
  • Mercury-containing thermostats
  • Non-leaking PCB lighting ballasts
  • Certain batteries
  • Mercury thermometers

Who generates Universal Wastes?
Everyone!  Businesses, municipalities, schools and households.

Is a Municipal Solid Waste Facility Required to Accept Universal Wastes from Households?
Yes.  Municipalities must provide for the management of Universal Wastes from households.  In the past, these wastes have been co-mingled with other solid wastes.  While this is still legal, it can cause hazardous chemical to be released to the environment.  By separating Universal Wastes from the rest of the residential solid waste, storing them in a secure area, and sending them for recycling instead of disposal, the City of Old Town will be doing its part to help protect the environment and community health.

Is a Municipality Solid Waste Facility Required to Accept Universal Wastes from businesses?
No.  Municipalities are required to provide for disposal of domestic and commercial solid wastes generated within the municipality.  When a business generates Universal Wastes, it is considered hazardous wastes.

When a household generates Universal Waste, it is not considered hazardous wastes.  Therefore, the City of Old Town has no legal obligation to provide recycling or disposal of business-generated Universal Waste.  Just like every other business, the City of Old Town is responsible for managing hazardous wastes, including universal wastes, from our own municipal properties.

How Can a Municipality Pay for the Recycling of Universal Wastes?
There are potentially two costs the City of Old Town needs to consider when handling Universal Wastes.  The first is the cost of any infrastructure improvements that might be needed.  The second cost is that of on-going operations, including the cost of having these wastes picked up and recycled.  To keep these costs as low as possible the SPO (State Planning Office) is negotiating a set contract price for recycling that the City of Old Town and other municipalities may use.  Municipalities may also choose to support the cost of managing Universal Wastes by charging a fee for services to business and/or households.