Hazardous Materials Recycling Programs
For further information on any of the hazardous materials recycling programs listed below, please contact Environmental Affairs staff. To submit your materials for recycling, please fill out our Chemical Waste Disposal form.
Battery recycling here at UNC-Chapel Hill can include many types of batteries. The University recycles all types of batteries including lithium, nickel-cadmium, mercury, zinc, lead acid, alkaline, zinc carbonate, silver oxide, etc. Recycling batteries helps keep toxic metals out of landfills and helps prevent ground water contamination. The two most common battery types are the alkaline batteries used in personal items (i.e. Walkman, flashlights, and boom boxes) and the lead-acid batteries used in vehicles. All types of batteries can be recycled.
UNC-Chapel Hill has a program to recycle electronic circuit boards, token ring cards, etc. The boards are disassembled, crushed and melted by a metals recycler to recover lead and other metals. Due to the high lead content of solder used on electronic boards, the boards are not acceptable for disposal in landfills.
There are two types of light ballast, those containing PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) and those that do not contain PCBs. All light ballast, regardless of its PCB content, should be taken to the UNC Hazardous Materials Facility for recycling or proper disposal. Before going to the Hazardous Materials Facility, please call 919-962-2024 and arrange to drop off the ballast at a time when someone will be at the facility. Please do not leave any ballasts at the Hazardous Materials Facility when the building is closed.
UNC computer equipment, including monitors, keyboards, and printers, etc., should not be placed into the trash. Computer equipment contains lead and mercury and can contaminate soil and water. All UNC computer equipment that is no longer wanted (including non-working equipment) should be taken to UNC Surplus Property. The computer equipment will then be sent to State Surplus property. Working computer equipment is sold through State Surplus Property, and non-working equipment is repaired for use in North Carolina schools. Computer equipment that can not be repaired is recycled.
X-ray, Photoprocessing, and Microfiche Film
Film recycling at UNC-Chapel Hill includes three types of film: x-ray, photoprocessing, and microfiche. The used film is collected and sent to a film recycler for reclamation of the silver contained on the film. Because of its high silver content, film should not be placed into the trash. The silver recovered from the film is reused.
Film Fixer Reclamation
Spent fixer from the development of film contains silver that can be reclaimed and recycled. This is done by either collecting the fixer in a container for transportation to a recycling facility or by placing silver filtration devices on the fixer outflow piping leading from the film developing equipment. Because of the high silver content of spent fixer solution, this material should not be discharged to the sanitary sewer without silver recovery filtration. If spent fixer is washed down the sink drain, its toxicity can adversely impact wastewater treatment operations and can contaminate rivers and lakes.
Lead Solder Recycling
Much of the solder used at UNC-Chapel Hill contains high amounts of lead. The best way to manage lead solder is to use it up completely so there is none left to throw away. Small unusable pieces of solder and droplets of solder can be recycled for their lead content. The lead solder can contribute to ground water contamination at landfills if the material is placed into the trash for disposal.
The best way to manage silver solder is to use it up completely so there is none left to throw away. Small unusable pieces of silver solder and droplets of solder can be recycled for their silver content. Silver solder is easily recycled and should not be placed into the trash for disposal.
UNC-Chapel Hill has a program for recycling mercury from thermometers and other mercury-bearing measurement equipment. Mercury is easily recycled and is highly toxic if released into the environment. Mercury can contribute to ground water contamination at landfills if the material is placed into the trash for disposal. If mercury is washed down the sink drain, its toxicity can adversely impact wastewater treatment operations and can contaminate rivers and lakes.
Mercury Dental Amalgam
UNC-Chapel Hill has a program for recycling dental amalgam. The dental amalgam usually results from excess mix or from the clean out of bits of amalgam from chair-side traps and screens. Because the amalgam contains mercury and other metals, the material is suitable for recycling. The amalgam can contribute to ground water contamination at landfills if the material is placed into the trash for disposal. If amalgam is washed down the sink drain, its mercury toxicity can adversely impact wastewater treatment operations and can contaminate rivers and lakes.