The universal waste rules are intended to promote recycling as well as proper disposal by easing certain regulatory requirements such as waste evaluation and manifesting. When managing these wastes under the universal waste rules, a generator does not need to evaluate them, and they are not counted when determining the quantity of hazardous waste generated for the purposes of determining generator status. Furthermore, the nationally recognized universal wastes do not need to be transported on a hazardous waste manifest.
Universal wastes are specific hazardous waste streams that a generator can choose to manage in an alternative manner in place of the more complex hazardous waste requirements. These wastes are typically generated by numerous businesses and in the home, ordinarily in small quantities, and they present low hazards. Currently, Ohio has four categories of universal wastes recognized nation-wide, and three additional types that are Ohio-specific universal wastes that may be managed under these reduced requirements. Lamps, suspended or Recalled Pesticides, mercury-containing devices, and batteries are recognized nationwide. Antifreeze, aerosol containers, and paint and paint-related wastes are the new Ohio-specific universal wastes. The Ohio-specific universal wastes also do not require the use of a hazardous waste manifest while in Ohio. If these wastes leave the state of Ohio, the generator would need to comply with the manifesting requirements for all states these wastes would travel within.
Household and conditionally exempt small quantity generator hazardous wastes can be managed as universal waste or under their respective exemptions when they are kept segregated from other regulated wastes. If these wastes are mixed with universal wastes they must be managed as universal wastes.