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Glossary of Regulatory Terms


Kinds of Universal Waste

Batteries Lamps Pesticides Mercury-Containing Equipment Adoption

Referring to states adopting Federal regulations. As an initial step toward obtaining final authorization, a state typically adopts the federal regulations in some manner. Adopting the Federal program means either incorporating Federal rules into the State’s rules, or creating state rules that are equivalent to federal rules. See RCRA Orientation Manual Chapter 11: Authorizing States to Implement RCRA (PDF) (7 pp, 95 KB) .

Authorized State

A state that has been delegated the authority by EPA to implement and enforce its own regulations for hazardous waste management under RCRA. The state program must be at least as stringent as the federal standards. See RCRA Orientation Manual Appendix D Glossary (PDF) (24 pp, 328 KB) .

NOTE: A state can be authorized for some portions of the RCRA regulations and not others.

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A device consisting of one or more electrically connected electrochemical cells which is designed to receive, store, and deliver electric energy. An electrochemical cell is a system consisting of an anode, cathode, and an electrolyte, plus such connections (electrical and mechanical) as may be needed to allow the cell to deliver or receive electrical energy. The term battery also includes an intact, unbroken battery from which the electrolyte has been removed. See 40 CFR 273.9


See Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)

Document that codifies all rules of the executive departments and agencies of the federal government. It is divided into fifty volumes, known as titles. Title 40 of the CFR, referenced as 40 CFR, lists all environmental regulations (e.g., “40 CFR 273.81" lists a specific environmental regulation). See EPA’s Terms of Environment.

Conditionally Exempt Small Quantity Generator (CESQGs)

Someone that produces (otherwise known as generates) less than 100 kg (220 lb) of hazardous waste, or less than 1 kg (2.2 lb) of acutely hazardous waste, per calendar month. Please see 40 CFR 261.5 for the specific applicability.

Destination Facility

Facility that treats, disposes of, or recycles a particular category of universal waste, except those management activities described in 40 CFR 273.13 (a) and (c) and 40 CFR 273.33 (a) and (c). A facility at which a particular category of universal waste is only accumulated, is not a destination facility for purposes of managing that category of universal waste. See 40 CFR 273.9.


Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act


Federal Food Drug And Cosmetic Act


Any person, by site, whose act or process produces hazardous waste identified or listed in part 261 of this chapter or whose act first causes a hazardous waste to become subject to regulation. See 40 CFR 260.10.

Hazardous Waste

A waste with properties that make it dangerous, or capable of having a harmful effect on human health and the environment. Under the RCRA program, hazardous wastes are specifically defined as wastes that meet a particular listing of description or that exhibit a characteristic of hazardous waste. See RCRA Orientation Manual Appendix D Glossary (PDF). (24 pp, 328 KB)

NOTE: Hazardous wastes also are defined in 40 CFR 261.3.


Lamp, also referred to as “universal waste lamp” is defined as the bulb or tube portion of an electric lighting device. A lamp is specifically designed to produce radiant energy, most often in the ultraviolet, visible, and infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Examples of common universal waste electric lamps include, but are not limited to, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, neon, mercury vapor, high pressure sodium, and metal halide lamps. See 40 CFR 273.9.

Large Quantity Generators (LQGs)

Facilities that generate more than 1,000 kg (2,200 lb) of hazardous waste per calendar month, or more than 1 kg (2.2 lb) of acutely hazardous waste per calendar month. See RCRA Orientation Manual Appendix D Glossary (PDF). (24 pp, 328 KB)

Large Quantity Handler of Universal Waste

Means a universal waste handler (as defined in this section) who accumulates 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) or more total of universal waste (batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment, or lamps, calculated collectively) at any time. This designation as a large quantity handler of universal waste is retained through the end of the calendar year in which 5,000 kilograms or more total of universal waste is accumulated. See 40 CFR 273.9.

Mercury-Containing Equipment

Means a device or part of a device (including thermostats, but excluding batteries and lamps) that contains elemental mercury integral to its function. See 40 CFR 273.9.


Any substance or mixture of substances intended for preventing, destroying, repelling, or mitigating any pest, or intended for use as a plant regulator, defoliant, or desiccant, other than any article that: (1) Is a new animal drug under FFDCA section 201(w), or (2) Is an animal drug that has been determined by regulation of the Secretary of Health and Human Services not to be a new animal drug, or (3) Is an animal feed under FFDCA section 201(x) that bears or contains any substances described by paragraph (1) or (2) of this definition. See 40 CFR 273.9.


See Resource Conservation and Recovery Act

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

This was enacted by Congress in 1976 to address the huge volumes of municipal and industrial solid waste generated nationwide. This Act provides broad guidelines for the establishment of a national waste management program. The Act also provides the Administrator of the EPA (or his or her designee) with the necessary authority to develop these broad standards into specific requirements for the regulated community. For more detail, see RCRA Orientation Manual Section I: Introduction to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (PDF) (9 pp, 131 KB) or the general RCRA Orientation Manual Web site.

Small Quantity Generator (SQG)

A generator who generates less than 1000 kg (2,200 lb) of hazardous waste in a calendar month. See 40 CFR 260.10.

Small Quantity Handler of Universal Waste

A universal waste handler that does not accumulate 5,000 kg (11,000 lb) of all universal waste categories combined at their location at any one time. See 40 CFR 273.9.

State-Only Universal Waste

A term used in this Web site to indicate a waste that has been added to a state’s universal waste regulations but is not a federal universal waste category (batteries, pesticides, mercury-containing equipment including thermostats, or lamps).


A temperature control device that contains metallic mercury in an ampule attached to a bimetal sensing element, and mercury-containing ampules that have been removed from these temperature control devices in compliance with the requirements of 40 CFR 273.13(c)(2) or 273.33(c)(2). See 40 CFR 273.9.

Transfer Facility, Universal Waste Transfer Facility

Any transportation-related facility including loading docks, parking areas, storage areas and other similar areas where shipments of universal waste are held during the normal course of transportation for ten days or less. See 40 CFR 273.9.

Transporter, Universal Waste Transporter

Means a person engaged in the off-site transportation of universal waste by air, rail, highway, or water. See 40 CFR 273.9.

Universal Waste

Means any of the following hazardous wastes that are managed under the universal waste requirements of 40 CFR part 273:

(1) Batteries as described in 40 CFR 273.2;

(2) Pesticides as described in 40 CFR 273.3;

(3) Mercury-containing equipment (including thermostats) as described in 40 CFR 273.4; and

(4) Lamps as described in 40 CFR 273.5.

§, section symbol

This designates a section. Example: §273.6 is also written as 40 CFR 273.6 (title 40, part 273, section 6). Environmental regulations are in title 40 in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

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