Universal Waste Management Reminder: Batteries, Bulbs and Lamps, and Mercury-Containing Equipment

Universal waste includes certain batteries, lamps, and mercury-containing equipment. Because these items contain toxic materials, universal waste has specific federally mandated management and recycling requirements. Typical universal waste generated by Postal Service™ sites include the following:

n Batteries that contain toxic materials (i.e., nickel-cadmium, nickel-metal hydride, lithium, lithium-ion, silver/mercury oxide, and small, sealed lead-acid batteries);

n Lamps (light bulbs) that contain mercury and other toxic materials (i.e., fluorescent and compact fluorescent lamps, high intensity discharge (HID) lamps, neon lamps, and light emitting diode (LED) lamps); and

n Mercury-containing equipment (i.e., thermometers, thermostats, and electrical switches).

Postal Service sites must properly train employees to manage and store universal waste in clearly labeled, closed containers. Additionally, sites must arrange for universal waste pick up (or mailback) and subsequent off-site recycling within 1 year (365 days) of the day the waste was generated and maintain recycling records. For more information about universal waste management requirements, see the following guidance documents:

n Universal Waste Management Requirements Environmental Compliance Bulletin at

n Used Battery Management Environmental Compliance Bulletin at

n Waste Lamp Management Environmental Compliance Bulletin at

n Postal Service battery recycling site at

States may impose additional regulations, including establishing more categories of universal waste. Check with your designated USPS® environmental contact for more information about applicable regulations at

Postal Service sites must arrange for on-site pick up or mailback for off-site recycling using the following suppliers:

n On-site pick up services:

n Cleanlites Recycling, Inc. Additional contract information is available to Postal Service employees in the Material Logistics Bulletin: National Contract Ordering Instructions (MLB-CO-18-003) at

n Mailback services:

n Battery mailback options are provided by various vendors in the Postal Service eBuy2 catalog. See Attachment 1 of the Used Battery Management Environmental Compliance Bulletin ( for item numbers.

n Lamp mailback is provided by Stericycle. Postal Service employees can review Material Logistics Bulletin: National Contract Ordering Instructions (MLB-CO-14-018) at for details.

At this time, there is no internal mailback program for universal waste batteries. In 2017, the Postal Service cancelled the internal battery mailback programs at the Mail Recovery Center (Atlanta) and Tampa Logistics and Distribution Center (now known as Ybor City Processing and Distribution Center). Do NOT send any type of battery through the mail to these locations. Also, do NOT send used batteries to the Topeka Material Distribution Center unless the batteries are contained in equipment sent for recycling, such as computers or cell phones.