ENFORCEMENT OF HAZARDOUS WASTE DISPOSAL REGULATIONS: Reportedly, local inspectors (Environmental Compliance Officers) have gone into dumpsters at auto service facilities to determine the occurrence of illegal waste disposal. They have cited heavy fines for violations when hazardous waste and universal waste are found in the dumpster. Alameda and Santa Clara counties sued an auto dealership chain and recently obtained a settlement of $3.38 million. See link.
On February 8, 2006, regulations that require recycling of mercury containing fluorescent lamps, batteries, (non-automotive type) and other mercury containing materials will be prohibited from disposal as ordinary trash and required to be recycled. Some of the Universal Wastes that require recycling is as follows:
- Fluorescent Lamps
- Mercury Containing Switches, Novelties & other products
- Batteries (non-automotive kind)
- Non-Empty Aerosols
- Cathode Ray Tube
You cannot dump your fluorescent lamps into the dumpster any more! The US EPA has made changes to waste rules applying to spent mercury-containing light bulbs that requires recycling of these lamps and prohibit landfill disposal.
The rule has been adopted to reduce the disposal of mercury containing wastes into landfills. Mercury is a toxic pollutant that accumulates in our body, especially for children who are at a high risk as they absorb more mercury as a percentage of their body weight. Examples of wastes that are being regulated under this new rule are fluorescent, high-intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, metal halide, thermostat (with metallic mercury in an ampoule), batteries (non-automotive), and lamp ballasts.