Under California's Universal Waste Rule (PDF, 108 KB), households and conditionally exempt small quantity generators were allowed to dispose fluorescent lamps and tubes, batteries (not lead/acid batteries of the type used in autos), mercury thermostats, and electronic devices to the trash through February 8, 2006. Local trash companies or other agencies were allowed to ban these items from the trash any time before February 8, 2006. Large and small quantity handlers are required to ship their universal waste to either another handler, a universal waste transfer station, a recycling facility, or a disposal facility. Under the California's Universal Waste Rule (PDF, 108 KB), specified waste generators were permitted to send specified universal wastes to landfills, but this disposal allowance has expired.

On February 9, 2004, regulations took effect in California that classified all discarded fluorescent lamps and tubes as hazardous waste. This includes even low mercury lamps and tubes marketed as "TCLP passing" or "TTLC passing." Most businesses, institutions, and agencies are now prohibited from disposing of any type of fluorescent lamps and tubes in the nonhazardous solid waste stream. Hazardous waste fluorescent lamps and tubes can be managed under the simple requirements of the state's Universal Waste Rule, provided they are sent to an authorized recycling facility. Under a temporary disposal exemption, California households were allowed to discard their own fluorescent lamps and tubes as non-hazardous solid waste (ordinary trash) until February 9, 2006. A similar exemption allowed non-residential generators who produce very limited amounts of hazardous waste to discard up to 30 of their own lamps and tubes in the non-hazardous solid waste until the same date.

Now all fluorescent lamps and tubes must be recycled, or taken to a household hazardous waste disposal facility, a universal waste handler (e.g., storage facility or broker), or an authorized recycling facility. (Title 22, division 4.5, chapter 23, section 66273.8)

Contact the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) office near you for more information. Also see the DTSC Web page on universal waste.

Please contact our Partner Quicklight Recycling for further details on Lamps Recycling.