SWAP accepts most reusable, repairable or salvageable surplus property from UW-Madison, Wisconsin State Agencies and municipalities. Departments are responsible for ensuring that the property is safe to handle and distribute prior to sending it to SWAP. This property includes:
- Equipment with chemical, biological, or radiological warning labels
- Equipment or supplies that may contain asbestos
- Oil-filled transformers or ballasts that may contain PCBs
The list below is a guide but is not exhaustive list. If you have questions about whether your property is suitable for redistribution through SWAP, contact us at email@example.com.
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SWAP does not accept aerosol cans. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Any cans which still contain the product must be turned-in as surplus chemicals. The Surplus Chemicals Form must be submitted; include the type of product and any listing of ingredients or contents. Aerosol cans that have been completely emptied may be thrown into the normal trash. Request a pickup on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.
SWAP does not accept animal bedding. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Animal bedding that may be contaminated with metabolized chemicals can be bagged and placed in the normal trash or sewered (Garb-el). Normally there is little risk of exposure or environmental impact regarding this type of disposal. If you have questions regarding whether this type of disposal is appropriate for a chemical you are using please call 608-279-0869 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SWAP accepts clean small appliances that are functional or have value for parts or repair. Unrepairable or dirty appliances should be recycled by the department.
SWAP accepts most large appliances that are fully-functional and clean. Broken, dirty, or contaminated large appliances should be disposed of through FP&M.
Instructions for the disposal of broken large appliances can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Broken appliances, microwaves, and refrigerators may be picked up for removal by contacting Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 to submit a pick-up request.
After making the request, please decontaminate and empty any contents remaining in your appliance. Appliances should be fully clean before removal. Place your appliance next to your buildings dumpster after requesting a pickup through Physical Plant Customer Service. If you are unable to place your appliance next to a dumpster, please place it on your buildings loading dock.
SWAP does not accept asbestos-containing equipment or supplies. Departments should closely inspect older equipment, especially older lab ovens and lab counter tops, for asbestos prior to submitting a Surplus Request Form.
For information on how to dispose of asbestos-containing equipment, please contact Chris Heidel.
Ballasts, Fluorescent and Other Types of Lighting
SWAP accepts NEW ballasts if they are non-PCB. All other ballasts should be disposed of on campus. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Spent or PCB Containing Light Ballasts – These should have the wires cut as close to the ballasts as possible. Large quantities (>10) should be placed into a steel drum (provided by EHS), labeled as “PCB Ballasts” and delivered to EHS at 30 East Campus Mall. Small quantities can be arranged for pickup by Chemical Disposal Group by using our Chemical Disposal Pickup form.
Working Light Ballasts (non–PCB) – Must have “No PCBs” printed on them. If there is no marking, please treat them as PCB ballasts. Can be placed into steel recycling (please contact your building manager for location) or the normal trash.
SWAP only accepts NEW batteries, individual laptop batteries, and batteries that are currently installed in equipment (laptops, UPS devices, forklifts, etc.). All other batteries should be disposed of at your locations. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Alkaline Batteries – Please throw your alkaline batteries in the normal trash.
Lead Acid Batteries – Lead acid batteries (car type and gel cell) can be returned to the vendor from which it was purchased. If you are unable to return the battery to a vendor, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 for a pick-up request. All caps on the battery must be present. If the battery is leaking, it must be secured in double plastic bags at least 4-mils thick. Please fill out a chemical pick up request form for leaking batteries only.
Nickel Cadmium Batteries (Nicads) and nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) – These batteries should be purchased from a vendor who will accept the old battery. If you are unable to return the battery to a vendor, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 for a pick-up request or find a battery recycling tower located in your designated building.
Lithium Batteries – Lithium batteries should be purchased from a vendor who will accept the old battery. If you are unable to return the battery to the vendor, please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 for a pick-up request or find a battery recycling tower located in your designated building. Please tape the terminals on these specific batteries before disposal.
Biological Safety Cabinets
SWAP does not accept biological safety cabinets.
For information on how to dispose of biological safety cabinets, please contact the Office of Biological Safety.
SWAP accepts fiction, non-fiction, and reference books in good condition.
Large quantities (20+) of books must be placed in small boxes before transport to SWAP. Speed packs should not be used for gathering and transporting loose books.
Bulbs, Lamps & Tubes
SWAP only accepts light bulbs that are installed in furniture or salable light fixtures. All other bulbs should be properly disposed of.
Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
It is the policy of the University of Wisconsin–Madison to collect and dispose of universal waste according to all local, state and federal regulations.
Collection of used bulbs, lamps, and tubes
- Spent bulbs, lamps, and tubes must be collected in boxes marked with the label “Universal Waste” or “Used Lamps”, the start date of accumulation, and closed.
- Each facility handles their own bulb collection.
- The original container that the bulbs, lamps, and tubes came in when purchased should be used if possible. Alternate containers must be made out of corrugated cardboard.
- Please contact Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 to schedule a bulb pickup.
- All spills of glass, powder, or any other material related to bulbs, lamps, and tubes must be immediately cleaned up.
- As soon as a box is full, it must be completely taped shut.
NOTE: Completely taped shut means the following:
All seams and holes in the collection box whether intentionally put there or as part of their original construction (this includes but is not limited to, hand hold end seams) must be taped over; there can be No Holes, No Gaps, No Seams and/or No Cracks left in the collection box where powder or broken glass could leak out.
Individual small bulbs, lamps, and tubes from lab instruments and equipment can be picked up by EH&S, by filling out a Surplus Chemicals Form and submitting the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.
SWAP accepts carpet squares, rugs, and small quantities of rolled-up carpeting in very good condition.
See “Mixed Media”
SWAP accepts centrifuges for repurposing or recycling if both of the following are true:
- Unit has been decontaminated and hazardous warning stickers removed or defaced
- Door to access the rotor is open, or can be opened without power
Chemicals - Liquids or Powders
SWAP does not accept chemicals, liquids, powders or aerosol cans.
See Environment, Health & Safety’s Recyclopedia Page for disposal instructions.
SWAP accepts new clothing and gently-used, clean labcoats. All other used clothing should be properly disposed of.
Clothing with embroidery, patches or screen printing that might give the wearer access to otherwise restricted areas should be disposed of. Examples include doctor’s labcoats, marching band uniforms, and law enforcement apparel.
Contact SWAP with any questions about apparel.
SWAP accepts all computer equipment, including computers, monitors, printers, copiers, and smaller peripherals, regardless of condition.
While all computers are treated as potentially storing sensitive information, departments are responsible for ensuring data-bearing devices are wiped of all data prior to disposal.
SWAP accepts wood and metal doors in good condition, provided all hardware (e.g. knobs and soft-close mechanisms) are removed.
Drums, Empty, 55-Gallon, Metal or Plastic
SWAP does not accept 35 or 50-gallon metal or plastic drums/barrels. Disposal instructions from Waste & Recycling are below:
In order for Physical Plant (Waste and Recycling) to dispose of metal or plastic 55-gallon drums the disposer of the drums must:
- Submit a Work Order to Physical Plant Customer Services 608-263-3333
- Ensure both bung plugs are removed.
- Ensure that each barrel is Triple-Rinsed, Empty and Dry inside,
- Clearly mark each barrel “TRIPLE RINSED” (with a Sharpie or other indelible marker) including the name and phone number of the disposer.
If the poly/plastic drums contain residue that you are unable to rinse, such as oil or hard debris, please contact the Department of Environment, Health & Safety (EH&S) and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form for drum pick-up and removal.
SWAP accepts clean small electronics (suitcase-size or smaller) regardless of condition and larger electronics that are clean and functional.
Large electronics that are broken may be accepted by SWAP for recycling as electronic waste. However, larger broken electronics comprised mostly of metal with very little plastics or circuitry can be recycled as metal scrap by the department.
SWAP accepts functional, non-hazardous lab and maintenance equipment. SWAP also accepts most non-functioning equipment for parts or repair.
SWAP does not accept equipment with hazardous warning labels or any material that contains biological, radiological, or chemical hazards. Equipment with warning labels must be sanitized, approved for disposal, and the warning label removed or defaced before SWAP will accept it.
SWAP does not accept fire extinguishers. Contact UW Fire & Life Safety for proper disposal instructions – https://ehs.wisc.edu/fire-life-safety/
SWAP accepts furniture in good, salable condition.
Must be complete, functional, and intact. Drawers should be functional.
Must be clean and functional; no missing or broken arms, casters, or main cylinders. Fabric cannot have rips or stains.
SWAP does not accept modular or systems furniture
SWAP does NOT accept gas cylinders. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
All gas cylinders must be stored in an approved storage area in an upright position and secured with a chain.
Cylinders manufactured by Linde, AGA, Airgas, Praxair, Matheson, Gastech, and Badger Welding should be returned to their vendors through MDS.
If the cylinder is from a vendor not listed above, or the vendor will not accept the cylinder, please contact chemical safety for disposal assistance.
SWAP accepts glassware that is clear, intact, and clean. Large quantities of glassware must be boxed up and labeled prior to transport to SWAP.
SWAP does NOT accept glassware that has chips, cracks, or chemical residue.
SWAP accepts NEW plastic lab containers provided they are not expired. Used plastic lab containers should be disposed of at the department.
SWAP does not accept sharps hazards, including needles, scalpels or items with broken glass. See “Sharps” for more information.
SWAP will not pick up or accept material that may pose a hazard to personnel or equipment, including:
- Plate glass
- Equipment over 2,000 lbs.
- Equipment requiring a flatbed
Property too large to safely transport can be sold at the department’s location. Contact SWAP for more information.
SWAP accepts household supplies in usable and salable condition, other than household chemicals (see “Chemicals”).
SWAP does NOT physically accept lasers that emit an exposed beam and lasers cannot be sold to the public. However, SWAP can assist in marketing individual lasers to other UW-Madison departments for re-purposing. Contact SWAP for more information.
SWAP accepts equipment that contains a laser as long as the laser beam is confined within the equipment.
Law Enforcement - Restricted Items
Some items restricted to use by law enforcement departments or agencies may be unsuitable for redistribution through SWAP. Please contact SWAP PRIOR to submitting a Surplus Request Form to see if SWAP can accept your restricted law enforcement equipment or supplies.
SWAP accepts household or unique light fixtures, wall sconces, and light fixtures that are new-in-package.
SWAP does NOT accept used fluorescent or industrial light fixtures that require hard-wiring.
Liquid Nitrogen Tanks
SWAP accepts University-owned liquid nitrogen tanks that are fully functional and do not leak. Leaking tanks should be properly disposed of.
SWAP accepts lumber and wood scrap. Nails and screws must be removed from the lumber prior to pick-up or delivery to SWAP.
SWAP does not physically accept boxsprings or mattresses. However, SWAP can assist in repurposing these items from the department’s location using our auction website.
SWAP does not accept mercury or equipment or supplies that contain mercury. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
UW–Madison Chemical Safety Office accepts metallic mercury and unwanted, unbroken mercury-containing devices.
For free-flowing mercury from broken items follow this procedure:
For mercury spill cleanup information please see part 5.7 Mercury Spills in the Laboratory Safety Guide.
If dealing with a broken thermometer, preserve all sections containing visible mercury, especially the bulb. Contain the mercury in a small preferably plastic container with a secure air- and liquid-tight seal.
Dispose of the material by filling out a Surplus Chemicals Form and submitting a Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.
SWAP does not accept microtome blades, or microtomes that contain a blade. The blades should be removed, secured, and disposed of through the Office of Biological Safety (OBS).
SWAP does not accept microwaves.
Broken appliances, microwaves, and refrigerators may be picked up for removal by contacting Physical Plant Customer Service at 608-263-3333 to submit a pick-up request.
SWAP accepts CDs, DVDs, thumb drives, hard drives, and other data-bearing devices. The material is secured and sent to the University’s electronic waste recycling vendor for shredding.
Large quantities of material should be placed in small boxes for easier, more-secure transport and processing.
If the media contains sensitive information, including student, financial, or health records, SWAP strongly recommends delivering the media to SWAP.
For hard drives that contain sensitive information, SWAP has a hard drive crusher that can render the drives inoperable before it is sent to our e-waste recycling vendor for shredding. For more information about this free service, contact Matthew Thies at email@example.com.
SWAP accepts office supplies in reusable condition. Larger quantities must be boxed and labeled prior to transport to SWAP.
SWAP accepts NEW boxes and bubblewrap. SWAP does not accept styrofoam containers (block packing boxes), freezer packs, or packing “peanuts”
Paint, Paint-Related Material
SWAP does not accept paint or paint-related chemicals. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Excess Paint – Paint must always be purchased in quantities that minimize excess paint. Excess cans of paint must not be left at job sites. Paint returned from job sites should be used for other jobs if possible. When it is determined that paint is no longer needed, the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form must be submitted and arrangements for its pickup by EHS will be made. Its usability or waste status will be determined by the EH&S office. To save space and disposal expense, partial cans should be combined if possible. When filling out the form, indicate if the paint is latex (acrylic) based or oil (alkyd) based. Excess paint may be made available to all university facilities for use on other job sites.
Empty Paint Cans – Dry empty paint cans should be thrown away. A container is considered empty if all material has been removed that can be removed using the practices commonly employed to remove materials from that type of container (e.g., pouring, pumping, and aspirating), and no more than 2.5 centimeters (one inch) of dry residue remain on the bottom of the container.
Paint Thinner – Used paint thinner should be collected in 5-gallon carboys provided by EH&S. No solids or sludge should be mixed with the thinner; filter the thinner if necessary. Keep the outside of the carboys clean and keep them closed when they are not being filled. Do not fill the carboys above the fill line. When full, label the carboy with the Chemical Inventory of Waste Solvents in Carboys Form and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form to arrange for pickup.
Paint Sludge – Sludge from paint and thinner should be collected in 5-gallon carboys provided by EH&S. When full, securely close and label with the Chemical Inventory of Waste Solvents in Carboys Form and submit the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form to arrange for pickup.
Aerosol Cans – Any cans which still contain the product must be turned-in as surplus chemicals. The Surplus Chemicals Form must be submitted; include the type of product and any listing of ingredients or contents. Aerosol cans that have been completely emptied may be thrown into the normal trash. Request a pickup on the Chemical Waste/Surplus Pickup Request Form.
MDS picks up wood and plastic pallets free of charge. For more information, contact Tom Erickson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
SWAP may accept PPE if it is new or in like-new condition and not expired. Contact SWAP at email@example.com to see if your PPE includes items we can repurpose.
SWAP does not accept:
- Lead aprons / shielding
- Expired equipment or supplies
- Geiger counters
- Used PPE with any defects
Pesticides & Poisons
Printer Cartridges (Toner)
SWAP accepts all new toner cartridges. Submit a Surplus Request form to request pick-up.
MDS accepts all used toner cartridges for recycling. Label the used toner for MDS and place it by the building’s receiving area where MDS delivers ShopUW+ packages.
Radioactive Equipment & Supplies
SWAP will not accept equipment or supplies that contain, or have been exposed to, radiological hazards unless cleared for disposal by the Office of Radiation Safety. More information can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia webpage (see below).
Equipment used for research with radioactive materials is labeled with the “caution radioactive material” symbol. All such equipment is potentially contaminated and must be checked for radioactive contamination by UW–Madison Office of Radiation Safety before it can be disposed of or shipped off campus. Contact UW–Madison Office of Radiation Safety with questions; email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 608-265-5000. Learn more about radiation disposal.
SWAP does not accept scrap metal, including stainless steel, copper, or brass, for recycling value. Precious metals used in research may be accepted for reuse or sale. Contact SWAP for more information.
SWAP does not accept medical or laboratory sharps material or broken glassware.
Information on how to dispose of medical sharps, laboratory sharp materials and broken glass is located on the EHS Sharps Disposal page.
See “Packing Materials”
SWAP does not accept oil-filled transformers. Contact Waste & Recycling for disposal instructions
Video and Data Tapes
See “Mixed Media”
Weapons, Property Designed to Inflict Damage
SWAP does not accept weapons or any property designed to inflict physical damage.
X-Ray Equipment & Supplies
SWAP does not accept or re-purpose x-ray equipment or supplies, including individual x-rays.