Banned From The Garbage
The following items are Banned from the Garbage here on the campus of the University of St. Thomas, also in the State of Minnesota, and in the majority of the United States. These items are kept out of our garbage and landfills to protect our health and environment. In some cases the items can be recycled if taken to the proper processor; in other cases the items must be safely disposed of by licensed contractors. Where possible, explanations are given as well as links to other sites with more information. Another listing of common household hazardous waste is available at the Minnesota Office of Environmental Assistance (MOEA) web site. A more extensive information source for hazardous and toxic materials can be found at Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Automotive Fluids, Filters & Sorbents
Antifreeze: MN Statutes §115A.916 prohibits antifreeze from being placed on land or with solid waste. Improper disposal harms vegetation and pollutes water supplies. Never place antifreeze in a septic system or storm drain.
Oil: MN Statutes §115A.916 prohibits pouring motor oil on the ground, in the sewer system, in with trash or solid waste, or pouring it on roads for dust suppression (MN § 7045.0845). Improper disposal harms vegetation, pollutes water supplies, and poses a fire hazard. The prohibition also includes used oil filters. State law requires anyone who sells motor oil to either accept used oil or post the nearest location for used oil drop-off.
Other automotive fluids: MN Statutes §115A.916 prohibits the disposal of brake fluid, power steering fluid, and other automotive lubricants on land, in the sewer system, or with solid waste.
Sorbents, towels & wipes: sorbents cannot be put in the trash without evaluation for hazardous waste characteristics. MPCA Fact Sheet
Alkaline batteries with no added mercury are non-hazardous and may be disposed of with regular garbage.
Carbon Zinc with no added mercury are non-hazardous and may be disposed of with regular garbage.
Nickel-cadmium (labeled Ni-Cd): must be managed as hazardous waste unless managed under the Universal Hazardous Waste Rules. Commonly used in power tools, cordless phones, radios, they may be recycled free using Call2Recycle which can identify the nearest recycling location by zip code!
Mercury Oxide, Silver Oxide: Federal Universal Waste Rules 40CFR 273 and MN Statutes §115A.915 prohibit the disposal of these batteries in landfills or regular garbage. Silver and mercury are hazardous heavy metals and pollute water supplies and harm health.
Lead Acid (wet cell): or automobile batteries are very hazardous and cannot be disposed in regular garbage or landfills. Both the lead and the sulfuric acid contained in the batteries are destructive to life and harmful to health. MN Statutes §325E.1151 requires any person who sells lead acid batteries to accept up to five lead acid batteries from a consumer at no charge. MPCA Fact Sheet
Lithium (labeled Li or CR): any lithium batteries which has not been fully discharged or larger than 9 volts is considered a hazardous waste. Discharging lithium batteries may render them non-hazardous and able to be disposed of through regular garbage.
Lithium ion batteries are recyclable but have strict regulations when being shipped to a recycling processor. The US DOT enacted new regulations in 2008 that apply to shipments containing Lithium ion batteries. Whenever possible, Lithium ion batteries should be sorted from other rechargeable batteries. A shipment container of Lithium ion batteries for recycling must adhere to the following requirements, in addition to the safety requirements listed on the opposite side:
- Each individual rechargeable battery, or cell phone with battery, must be placed into a separate bag (or terminals taped) to ensure safe storage and shipping;
- Package must be marked “CONTAINS LITHIUM ION BATTERIES – FORBIDDEN FOR TRANSPORT ABOARD AIRCRAFT AND VESSEL.” Lettering must be at least 0.25 inches in height;
- Package also must be marked: “DO NOT DAMAGE OR MISHANDLE PACKAGE – IF PACKAGE IS DAMAGED, BATTERIES MUST BE QUARANTINED, INSPECTED AND REPACKAGED”;
- Shipping document must indicate package contains lithium batteries and package must be quarantined, inspected and repackaged if damaged; and
- Package may not exceed 30 kg (66 pounds)
Lithium ion batteries are commonly used used in laptop computers, cellular phones, camcorders and other electronic devices, they may be recycled with Call2Recycle for the cost of shipping.
Nickel Metal Hydride batteries are non-hazardous, recyclable and rechargeable. They may be disposed of in regular garbage. Commonly used used in laptop computers, cellular phones, camcorders and other electronic devices, they may be recycled with Call2Recycle for the cost of shipping.
Sealed Lead Acid (labeled SLA): classified as universal waste, recyclable and rechargeable. Commonly used used in emergency power and camcorders, they may be recycled with the Call2Recycle for the cost of shipping.
This includes computers, monitors, televisions, cell phones, facsimile machines, video equipment, telephones and telecommunications equipment, cordless rechargeable appliances, and audio equipment. Electronic parts such as ballasts, cathode ray tubes, printed wire boards, switches, relay sensors, capacitors, transformers are hazardous waste because they may contain hazardous substances such as lead, mercury, cadmium and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).
An increasing number of PC manufacturers offer recycling programs for computers. Companies offering free take backs include Apple, Dell, Samsung, and Sony. Other companies offer rebates or limited take-back programs. For details of how to recycle electronics and different programs that are available, check with the Electronics TakeBack Coalition to locate a responsible electronic recycler in your area.
Facts about electronics. MPCA Fact Sheet