Universal wastes banned from landfills

By CMTA Staff

Capitol Update, Feb. 17, 2006 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) has decided not to grant an extension for small hazardous waste generators and households to comply with proper disposal of "universal wastes" in landfills. Some of these "universal wastes" are batteries, mercury thermostats, computer monitors and other products with mercury or heavy metals.

One extension for compliance (until February 8th) was granted due to the lack of infrastructure for collecting these "universal wastes".  Opponents of the ban argued that the original reason for extension, lack of infrastructure, still exists and the exemption should be continued.  DTSC chose not to grant another exemption on four grounds:
  • The first exemption gave extra time to create programs for collection of waste and another extension might hinder future development.
  • This exemption applied to only four categories of universal waste, while all other universal and hazardous wastes have already been banned.
  • An infrastructure program was created through the state’s 2003 e-waste recycling act.
  • Recycling facilities, in DTSC’s opinion, are adequate enough for the program.
Universal wastes, therefore, are now banned from landfills even though there is no real way to enforce recycling.  DTSC intends to work with agencies and retailers to create more recycling options and to educate people on how to go about the task.  Maureen Gorsen, the new Director of DTSC, stated that the Department will focus enforcement efforts on illegal dumping and egregious violations involving large amounts of universal waste.
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