Hazardous Waste Disposal

Hazardous wastes are generated in many different University operations. These include lab research, building operations and maintenance and construction projects. To ensure that the University is operating to protect the safety and health of employees and students and to protect the environment the proper management of hazardous wastes is critical. Proper management of wastes includes: correctly identifying wastes; storing wastes properly; performing required weekly inspections; and ensuring that all storage time limits are met.

Universal Waste

The following wastes are NOT considered hazardous when recycled:

  • Waste paint and paint related material;
  • Hazardous batteries primarily nickel cadmium (NiCd), Lithium and mercury containing button batteries (Note: Lead-Acid batteries are not considered universal wastes);
  • Mercury-containing switches, mercury-containing lamps, such as fluorescent lamps; and
  • Hazardous waste pesticides (e.g. mercury-based, arsenicals, chlorinated), pesticides that have been recalled or banned from use, and/or pesticides that are obsolete, have become damaged or are no longer used due to changes in application practices.

If collected and recycled these wastes are considered “universal” wastes and subject to less stringent waste storage requirements listed below:

  • Designate a Universal Waste Storage Area and Post Appropriate Signage
  • Label and date containers/boxes: Containers or boxes used to collect and store Universal Waste must be labeled with SMU’s “Universal Waste” label and must also include the specific name of the waste item(s). In addition, the label must be marked with the date upon which storage begins. The on-site storage limit for universal wastes is one year.
  • Ensure Safe Storage: Store non-leaking batteries, unbroken mercury containing devices and intact fluorescent lamps in a secure drum or box to prevent breakage. In some instances it may be prudent to store Universal Waste on pallets that allow for secondary containment.
  • Recordkeeping: If your facility/department manages disposal of these waste, they must maintain shipment logs with quantities, etc. You must also maintain shipment records, which indicate quantities of Universal Waste removed from your facility, for a minimum of three (3) years.

Enforcement penalties can result in fines of up to $25,000 per day, per violation.


Contact Us

Niraj Bhagat
Assistant Director, Environmental Health and Safety
and Enterprise Risk Intelligence

David Liner
Director of Risk Management and
Executive Director of Environmental Health and Safety

In Case of Emergency

Call 911 from a SMU land line
or 214-768-3333


Dawson Service Center
3050 Dyer St. Dallas, Texas 75275
PO BOX 750231 Dallas, Texas 75275