Many of these types of wastes are regulated as a universal waste by the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In many cases local state and local municipality regulation may by even stricter. Also, many landfill companies have banned bulbs, batteries, electronic scrap and other items containing heavy metals from being buried in their landfills. Mildly radioactive tritium exit signs and smoke detectors are also regulated by the Federal Government through the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and need to be properly recycled.
Used mercury-containing lighting products, batteries, and mercury devices (such as thermostats) are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Universal Waste Rule (UWR), which is a subset of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Subtitle C hazardous waste regulations. Most states have adopted these rules, and several have adopted regulations that are more stringent than the UWR.
The federal hazardous waste rules are a complex set of regulations affecting all aspects of waste management. They are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (40 CFR Parts 260-279). The Universal Waste Rule is a subset of these regulations which streamlines the management of selected common hazardous waste products. These products include batteries, certain pesticides, thermostats, and lamps. In general, this rule prohibits spent lamp disposal in municipal landfills. It is important that you are acquainted with both state and federal regulations to determine how they apply to you.