Universal Waste

Universal waste (u-waste) is hazardous waste that comes from a wide variety of generators, including residences and businesses. Under California’s "Universal Waste Rule", u-waste cannot go in the trash, and must be taken to a collection location where it is then sent for recycling or proper disposal.

Examples of Universal Waste


  • Common batteries (AA, AAA, C cells, D cells and button cell batteries)
  • Electronic devices such as: Computer and television monitors, wireless phones, computer processing units, printers, VCRs and microwave ovens
  • Fluorescent light tubes and bulbs
  • High intensity discharge lamps
  • Mercury switches
  • Mercury thermometers
  • Mercury thermostats
  • Non-empty aerosol cans

How to Dispose of Universal Waste


Retailers that sell rechargeable batteries should have a take back service. Rechargeable batteries and cell phones are accepted at retail sites participating with Call2Recycle.

Poway residents may take their waste to the Poway HHW Collection Facility along with other HHW.

Battery Recycling - Collection & Safety


  • U.S. Department of Transportation has recently established new regulations for handling, shipping, and transportation of dry cell batteries. The new regulations require that batteries be properly insulated while being transported.
  • This can be done simply by taping the positive end of each battery with tape or stickers before dropping off at the City of Poway Household Hazardous Waste facility. (Use a non-conductive tape, such as clear Scotch brand tape.)
  • Types of batteries accepted include: AAA, AA, C, D, 9-Volt, Button, Photo Electronic, Lantern, Nickel Cadmium
Thank you for your cooperation and for recycling. Please ensure the safety of our roads and the continued success of our battery recycling program. Insulate the positive end before disposing of your battery!

For additional information about universal waste go to the website for Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) - Universal Waste.