Stanford University

Universal Waste

Universal waste is a broad category of common items containing hazardous materials such as spent batteries, fluorescent lamps, compact fluorescent lamps, and small electronics. Do not dispose of universal waste in the regular trash.

  1. As part of its environmental stewardship outreach efforts, EH&S provides a comprehensive battery recycling program for the campus community. The goal of the program is to ensure that used household batteries (e.g. AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt, and rechargeable batteries) are collected and recycled responsibly. Batteries may be placed in EH&S-provided containers located in common areas, such as copy rooms, lobbies, and break rooms.

    See a map of battery recycling locations on the main campus and in student housing. For questions regarding battery recycling, contact Chris Craig.

Compact fluorescent Tubes (CFLs)
  1. Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) have become a popular alternative to traditional incandescent bulbs, in part because they use less power and last substantially longer. However, CFLs contain a small amount of mercury vapor, which is considered hazardous.

    To properly dispose of a CFL:

    1. Double bag the bulb.
    2. Place the bag in a small box, or wrap it in bubble wrap to cushion the bulb.
    3. Place the boxed or wrapped CFL in one of the green buckets around campus designated for electronic waste and other marginally hazardous items.

    See a map of Electronic Waste Locations on Campus. For questions regarding disposal of other types of fluorescent lamps, contact Chris Craig.

Electronic Wastes
  1. California’s Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) requires that used electronics be handled in an environmentally responsible way. Cell phones, pagers, PDAs, telephones, keyboards, mice, and similar products cannot be placed in the normal trash.

    EH&S makes it easy to safely discard these devices. Small electronic waste items can be recycled at a number of drop-off locations around campus. EH&S will collect them, then either refurbish or recycle them so they don’t end up in a landfill.

    Only small, non-capital equipment can be placed in these collection containers. To dispose of large volumes of University-owned wastes, or larger components (e.g. computers, monitors, or printers), contact your Department Property Administrator.

    See a map of Electronic Waste Locations on Campus. Note: for student generated electronic waste, contact Michelle Decker.

Toner and Ink Cartridges
  1. Toners in some printer cartridges contain hazardous constituents. The State of California recommends treating any non-empty toner cartridges as hazardous and recycling them appropriately. 90-95 % of the materials used to manufacture a toner cartridge are recyclable. Accordingly, Stanford’s Department of Environmental Health & Safety and Sustainable Stanford recommend the following:

    • Whenever possible, purchase remanufactured toner cartridges. They are generally less expensive and require less energy and raw materials to produce. According to industry experts, “The remanufactured toner process emits 60% fewer carbon equivalents than manufacturing a new cartridge and each remanufactured toner cartridge helps save 2 quarts of oil”.
    • Use the Surplus Property Sales Toner Recycling Program!
    • Dispose of your spent cartridge, whether empty or not, in one of the toner cartridge recycling bins located throughout campus. The cartridges must be boxed or bagged. To inquire about the nearest toner drop-off location, click here.
    • Electronic Waste consolidation buckets: If there are no toner collection spots in your area, AND for quantities of one or two cartridges, place the toner cartridge (boxed or bagged) in one of the Electronic Waste consolidation buckets located throughout campus.
    • For more information about Surplus Property Sales’ Toner and Ink Cartridges Recycling Program, please contact:
      Dr. Lemuel Booth
      Logistics & Extra Svcs. Supervisor
      Office: (650) 723-7888
    • For general toner-related questions, contact Chris Craig (EH&S) at: (650) 723-0654 or

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