For the purpose of the universal waste regulations, EPA defines a battery as a device consisting of one or more electrically connected electrochemical cells that is designed to receive, store, and deliver energy (§273.9). Intact, unbroken batteries from which the electrolyte has been removed are covered by the definition. This definition does not exclude an item from the definition of battery and the universal waste program based on its type, size, age, or whether it's wet or dry. Rather, EPA's intent is to include all those items commonly understood to be batteries (60 FR 25492, 25504; May 1, 1995). However, lead-acid batteries that are managed under Part 266, Subpart G, are not subject to the universal waste standards. The universal waste management standards only apply to those lead-acid batteries that are not managed under Part 266, Subpart G (§273.2(b)(1)).
If a specific type of battery is not hazardous, it is not covered under the universal waste rule (40CFR 273.(b)(3))
Additional guidance regarding batteries covered under the universal waste regulations is available in the following documents:
Memo, Shapiro to Senior RCRA Policy Managers; February 13, 1997 (RCRA Online 14088) [PDF 22K]
Monthly Call Center Report Question; May 1996 (RCRA Online 13783)
Monthly Call Center Report Question; December 1995 (RCRA Online 13772) [PDF 4K]
The universal waste final rule (60 FR 25492; May 11, 1995) is available at the following URL:
Additional information about the universal waste program is available at the following URL: www.epa.gov/hw/universal-waste