Material Acceptance Guidelines

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 swap@bussvc.wisc.edu.

SWAP accepts (or conditionally accepts)

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Appliances

Small appliance

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.

Large appliance

SWAP accepts most large appliances that are fully-functional and clean. Broken, dirty, or contaminated large appliances should be disposed of through FP&M.

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

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.

Batteries

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.

Books

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, and tubes

SWAP only accepts light bulbs that are installed in furniture or salable light fixtures.  All other bulbs should be properly disposed of per instructions available in the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Carpeting

SWAP accepts carpet squares, rugs, and small quantities of rolled-up carpeting in very good condition.

Centrifuges

SWAP accepts centrifuges for repurposing or recycling if both of the following are true:

  1. Unit has been decontaminated and hazardous warning stickers removed or defaced, and
  2. Door to access the rotor is open, or can be opened without power

Clothing

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.

Computer equipment

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.

Doors

SWAP accepts wood and metal doors in good condition, provided all hardware (e.g. knobs and soft-close mechanisms) are removed.

Electronics

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.

Equipment

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.

Furniture

SWAP accepts furniture in good, salable condition.

Desks/Tables

Must be complete, functional, and intact. Drawers should be functional.

Chairs/Seating

Must be clean and functional; no missing or broken arms, casters, or main cylinders. Fabric cannot have rips or stains.

Modular/System Furniture

SWAP does not accept modular or systems furniture.

Glassware

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.

Household supplies

SWAP accepts household supplies in usable and salable condition, other than household chemicals (see “Chemicals”).

Lasers

SWAP does not physically accept lasers that emit an exposed beam and lasers cannot tbe 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.

Light fixtures

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.

Lumber

SWAP accepts lumber and wood scrap. Nails and screws must be removed from the lumber prior to pick-up or delivery to SWAP.

Mattresses and box springs

SWAP does not physically accept box springs or mattresses. However, SWAP can assist in repurposing these items from the department’s location using our auction website.

Mixed media (e.g. CDs, DVDs)

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 matthew.thies@wisc.edu.

Office supplies

SWAP accepts office supplies in reusable condition. Larger quantities must be boxed and labeled prior to transport to SWAP.

Packing materials - new boxes and bubblewrap

SWAP accepts new boxes and bubblewrap only.

Pallets

MDS picks up wood and plastic pallets free of charge. For more information, contact Tom Erickson at taerickson@wisc.edu.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

SWAP may accept PPE if it is new or in like-new condition and not expired.  Contact SWAP (swap@bussvc.wisc.edu) 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

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.

SWAP does not accept

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Aerosol cans

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Animal bedding

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Asbestos-containing materials

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.

Please contact Chris Heidel or Brian Higby for information on how to dispose of asbestos-containing equipment

Biological safety cabinets

Contact the Office of Biological Safety for disposal information.

Chemicals - liquids, powders, fertilizers, pesticides, poisons

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Drums or barrels (empty)

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Fire extinguishers

Gas cylinders

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Handling hazards

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.

Mercury and mercury-containing devices

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Microtome blades

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).

Microwaves

SWAP does not accept microwaves in any condition. 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.

Packing material - Styrofoam, freezer packs, or packing peanuts

These items should be disposed of at the department.

Paint, paint-related material

Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Radioactive equipment and 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. Disposal instructions can be found on the Environment, Health & Safety Recyclopedia.

Scrap metal

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.

Sharps

Information on how to dispose of medical sharps, laboratory sharp materials and broken glass is located on the EHS Sharps Disposal page.

Transformers (oil-filled)

SWAP does not accept oil-filled transformers. Contact FP&M Physical Plant – Waste & Recycling for disposal instructions.

Weapons, property designed to inflict damage

SWAP does not accept weapons or any property designed to inflict physical damage.

X-ray equipment and supplies

SWAP does not accept or re-purpose x-ray equipment or supplies, including individual x-rays.