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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 51.16
Liaison Juliana Goodlaw-Morris
Submission Date June 30, 2017
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

California State University, San Marcos
OP-21: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Humberto Garcia
Senior Safety Specialist
Safety, Risk and Sustainability
"---" 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:

At CSUSM, the common method of research and teaching is to practice micro chemistry. This is the process of using minimal amounts of chemicals that become hazardous waste once the scientific process is completed. CSUSM examines for ways to divert waste from the common practice of landfilling and direct incineration for waste disposal.

The Emerald Energy Program is one way CSUSM has diverted waste from the landfill. Using this program CSUSM identified waste that was being autoclaved (this uses a large amount of energy) and then sending the waste to the landfill for burial and disposal. This previously landfilled waste is not being diverted to provide energy using an EPA approved method. This waste produces energy for the common power grid and keeps the waste out of the landfill. This program is being expanded to be included in additional research and instructional laboratories. CSUSM is also looking into the viability of using this same method to manage BSL-2 UN 3291 regulated medical waste. Diverting BSL2 waste is an effort from CSUSM to build upon the success of the Emerald Energy program. CSUSM fulfills the ‘good faith effort to minimize waste generation’ according to §262.27 of CFR Title 40.


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

CSUSM utilizes Department of Transportation (DOT) and Department of Toxic Substance Control licensed waste haulers to transport our hazardous waste. CSUSM approves the destination facilities for our waste to ensure the TSDF is an approved site for accepting and treating hazardous waste. CSUSM is constantly looking to find the most environmentally friendly method for treating and disposing of hazardous waste. Depending on the waste, it is either recycled, autoclaved and landfilled, incinerated, co-mingled for fuel blending (waste-to-energy), or encapsulation. These receiving facilities will send back our waste manifest signed with the appropriate management method code. (i.e., codes for hazardous waste treatment, disposal, and recycling systems.) CSUSM is required to retain records of hazardous waste shipments for a minimum of three years. This fulfills CSUSM’s requirements for the RCRA and non-RCRA ‘cradle to grave’ tracking of the hazardous waste.


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

CSUSM has not had any reportable hazardous materials release incidents in the previous three years.


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

CSUSM utilizes a chemical inventory tracking system that was initially developed by UNLV. The chemical inventory program is called Chimera. This program allows for every chemical on campus be inventoried and assigned a bar code. Chimera allows users (Principal Investigators, Instructional Support Technicians, and safety staff) to communicate with each other if they have surplus or unwanted chemicals. The ability to share virgin product reduces the amount of waste CSUSM generates. CSUSM is also partnered with a local waste vendor to send and receive unwanted chemicals from other facilities. This is called The Orphan Program and it allows our PI’s and IST’s to search a vast data base of chemicals from local facilities and redistributes the unwanted chemicals where they are needed. In the past, unwanted and unused chemicals would go out as hazardous waste before they were ever used for their intended purpose.


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

A brief description of the electronic waste recycling program(s), including information about how electronic waste generated by the institution and/or students is recycled:

CSUSM does manage all the electronic waste it generates responsibly. All electronics used by the campus that are deemed obsolete are either sold or managed as electronic waste. The waste is removed by an approved company through CalRecycle that either refurbishes or recycles the raw materials. A small number of still usable computers are donated to local schools for continued use.

The campus currently holds an annual electronic waste recycling event for the local community, which includes students. This event is geared specifically for electronic waste that is generated outside the institution.


Is the institution’s electronic waste recycler certified under the e-Stewards and/or Responsible Recycling (R2) standards?:
No

Electronic waste recycled or otherwise diverted from the landfill or incinerator during the most recent year for which data is available during the previous three years:
6.79 Tons

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
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Additional documentation to support the submission:
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About R2 certification- we had been using an R2 certified E-waste hauler until this past month (May 2017). Moving forward we will ensure that our haulers are R2 certified. However, this current company is on our CalRecycle website, so the thought was they were a preferred vendor.

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.