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  • AASHE-STARS

The Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System™ (STARS) is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.62
Liaison Michael Kensler
Submission Date Jan. 11, 2016
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Auburn University
OP-25: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.75 / 1.00 Tom McCauley
Environmental Programs Manager
Risk Management & Safety
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have strategies in place to safely dispose of all hazardous, special (e.g. coal ash), universal, and non-regulated chemical waste and seek to minimize the presence of these materials on campus?:
Yes

A brief description of steps taken to reduce hazardous, special (e.g. coal ash), universal, and non-regulated chemical waste:

Auburn University (AU) has established processes and procedures to minimize the volume and toxicity of hazardous, special, universal and non-regulated chemical wastes generated through University operations. AU continuously seeks new opportunities to improve performance in this area. Following are some of the key waste minimization measures:
• Microscale laboratory techniques are used whenever practical in laboratories to reduce the amount of chemicals consumed and the volume of waste generated.
• Non-hazardous or less hazardous chemicals are used in chemical processes whenever practical.
• Processes which use hazardous chemicals are reviewed and modified when possible to minimize the amount of chemicals used, and volume of waste generated including bench scale treatment of laboratory waste.
• Reverse distribution of pharmaceutical products occurs when possible.
• Implementation of a chemical inventory management system to monitor chemical usage, minimize redundant purchases, reduce the amount of unused, outdated chemicals requiring disposal.
• Implementation of a surplus chemical sharing and redistribution system available through the chemical inventory system.
In addition, glass, plastic and metal chemical waste containers are recycled after use.


A brief description of how the institution safely disposes of hazardous, universal, and non-regulated chemical waste:

Auburn University Risk Management (RMS) is responsible for managing all hazardous, universal, and non-regulated chemical waste generated by University operations.
Hazardous chemical waste is accumulated at the AU Hazardous Materials 90-day Storage facility prior to being transported for off-site disposal at a licensed treatment, storage and disposal facility.
Non-empty aerosol cans are collected for processing at the waste management facility. The cans are punctured to drain and collect the contents for disposal as hazardous waste and the propellant is captured in a carbon filter.
Non-hazardous chemical waste is disposed of through the sanitary sewer or municipal trash.
Universal waste is accumulated at the waste management facility prior to being transported for off-site recycling at a licensed facility. Waste types include: batteries (including alkaline), mercury containing lamps, lamp ballasts and mercury.
Biological waste includes regulated medical waste (blood, sharps, etc), infectious waste, and pathological waste and is managed as follows:
Regulated medical waste is autoclaved prior to disposal through a licensed waste handler.
Biohazardous materials are autoclaved prior to disposal as municipal trash.
Pathological wastes are incinerated in the permitted AU Pathological Waste Incinerator.
Radioactive wastes are managed based on the level of activity, and half-life of the isotope. Short lived materials are held for decay prior to disposal as sanitary sewage or municipal trash. Other radioactive materials are stored in secure facilities on-campus prior to being returned to the US Government, the original supplier, or disposal through a licensed waste handler.


A brief description of any significant hazardous material release incidents during the previous three years, including volume, impact and response/remediation:

During the previous three years, two major releases occurred to include the collapse of a shelving unit used to store laboratory chemicals. This incident resulted in the release of several gallons of hazardous chemicals and forced an evacuation of Funchess Hall. The second release occurred when a contractor overturned a mini excavator spilling approximately 5 gallons of petroleum directly into Parkerson Mill Creek. The contractor and AU personnel initiated mitigation efforts immediately to lesson the migration and impact of the release to the environment. State officials were notified as required.


A brief description of any inventory system employed by the institution to facilitate the reuse or redistribution of laboratory chemicals:

Auburn University has implemented a mandatory Chemical Inventory Management System (CIMS) for research and teaching laboratories. This system is used for both inventory and waste procedures.


Does the institution have or participate in a program to responsibly recycle, reuse, and/or refurbish all electronic waste generated by the institution?:
Yes

Does the institution have or participate in a program to responsibly recycle, reuse, and/or refurbish electronic waste generated by students?:
No

A brief description of the electronic waste recycling program(s):

When no longer needed, computers and other electronic equipment on Auburn University's campus are sent to Surplus Property, where they are sorted into what can be reused and what cannot.
Surplus Properties first attempts to sell or give the usable electronics to public schools in Alabama, other departments on campus or Alabama state-funded agencies. If no one wants them, or if they are unusable, the electronics are marked for recycling.
During the Fy 14 reporting period, AU contracted with Creative Recycling Systems (CRS), a Tampa-based company that picks up e-waste and recycles its components.


A brief description of steps taken to ensure that e-waste is recycled responsibly, workers’ basic safety is protected, and environmental standards are met:

During Fy14, the University had a working e-waste recycling agreement with Creative Recycling Systems, Inc. located in Tampa, Florida. http://www.crserecycling.com

E-waste is picked up at the University by CRS on an as-needed basis from Surplus Properties, AU Recycling, and the Risk Management & Safety(RMS). CRS creates revenue by shredding and otherwise separating the different recyclable components, re-packaging these components and redistributing them to accredited domestic and international manufacturers.

Initially, upon contracting with CRS, representatives from the RMS visited the CRS Tampa plant and conducted an audit to ensure that CRS is indeed accredited by reputable agencies, maintain ISO 9001 registration, and comply with all Federal and State (FL and AL) regulations. As was seen during the visit, CRS operates a patented recycling device, named “David”.

CRS has since gone out of business, and the university is in the process formalizing a contract with a new e-waste vendor. The interim firm being utilized is an e-Steward certified vendor. As before, Auburn Risk Management and Safety staff will conduct a site audit, once an appropriate vendor is selected.


The website URL where information about the institution’s hazardous and electronic-waste recycling programs is available:

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.