Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 53.97
Liaison Stephen Ellis
Submission Date Aug. 2, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

Boston University
OP-21: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Stephen Ellis
Director, Data Analytics
BU 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?:

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

A Chemical Waste Minimization plan has been developed which describes methods (including inventory management, scaling, substitution, and waste stream management) laboratory staff can utilize to reduce the number of chemical wastes they generate. BU EHS also offers a program to subsidize the cost of solvent recycling for interested laboratories. Wastes from photo-processing operations are filtered to remove contaminants to avoid collection of the entire liquid waste stream. Boston University is actively replacing fluorescent fixtures with LED lighting which eliminates mercury-containing fluorescent bulbs. This year we have also installed oil-water separators on most of our air compressors which have significantly decreased our oil waste throughout campus.

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

Chemical waste training is part of the mandatory annual training which every researcher receives, and each laboratory is inspected for compliance at least twice per year. Wastes which are collected inside the laboratory are removed and managed through final disposal by EHS staff. This program includes many chemicals which are not technically regulated chemical wastes, but which are kept from the environment as a best management practice. Facilities personnel who manage universal wastes are also trained annually on their proper collection and segregation, with dozens of dedicated areas set up for their safe collection. EHS oversees the disposal of universal waste to only approved endpoints.

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

From FY2016: A vendor brought a rented hydraulic lift on site which leaked a few gallons of hydraulic fluid. The spill was reported to the state regulators because the volume was unknown, however, it ended up being less than a 10-gallon release (the reportable threshold in MA). The spill impacted paved walkways and some landscaped areas which were cleaned thoroughly by a spill response contractor.

From FY2017: During the season's first snow event a plow struck a grease drum and punctured it, releasing used cooking oil to a driveway area. The grease did not belong to BU - it is owned by a tenant restaurant - however, a BU truck caused the release. A small amount of grease made it into a catch basin nearby, so the National Response Center (federal) MassDEP (state), and Boston Water and Sewer (local) were notified. Inspectors who responded confirmed that no grease exited the catch basin; it was contained on top of the water in the basin. A vacuum truck was used to empty the basin, and an emergency response crew power-washed the affected parts of the parking lot. A secondary containment drum has been purchased for the restaurant to prevent a recurrence. These secondary containment containers have now been installed on all grease collection drums throughout campus.

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

Boston University transitioned to a new research data management system in 2017 and lost the 'marketplace' function of the old system. However, a similar marketplace feature is being developed for the new research data management system which will be in effect by the end of FY2019. This marketplace feature, which is growing daily, will again allow researchers to post and access surplus chemicals. Just a few weeks ago the first waste requests came through on this system.

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

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

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:

During the school year, sustainability@BU manages the Sustainability Help Desk where the BU community can learn about ways to recycle electronics. sustainability@BU interns also collect electronics as well as other other items that people bring to be recycled. Electronics are then picked up by IRN.

The Institutional Recycling Network (IRN) works with Boston University and many other area universities and a network of local recycling facilities in Massachusetts. The IRN works with ACB Recovery to handle all the University’s electronics recycling needs.

ACB is committed to maintaining a safe workplace and providing employees with appropriate training and equipment to maintain a safe and accident-free work environment. All employees are instructed upon hire in procedures to assure the safe performance of their responsibilities, including lifting, equipment operation, and tool operation. Employees are provided with and instructed in the use of appropriate safety equipment, including (as relevant) safety goggles, steel-toed footwear, hearing protection, gloves, and protective clothing. Employees are encouraged to report any conditions that they believe may contribute to an unsafe working condition.

ACB is committed to providing service that not only complies with all state and federal regulations affecting the handling of electronic equipment (particularly cathode ray tubes, or CRTs, which because of their leaded glass content can be classified as a hazardous waste when discarded), but assures a level of safety and proper handling that goes well beyond compliance. For example, ACB is committed to assuring that re-usable equipment is marketed only to reputable domestic and pre-qualified international markets and is not exported for recycling to second- and third-world countries with lax environmental controls.

Is the institution’s electronic waste recycler certified under the e-Stewards and/or Responsible Recycling (R2) standards?:

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:
69 Tons

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Our main vendor, ACB, is a full-service recycling broker of electronic waste and other recyclable material that is dismantled and/or shredded down to the commodity level. That waste is then processed, sorted, sent or brokered to downstream vendors. All of ACB’s downstream vendors are audited to verify that not only is the waste being handled correctly, but the vendors are R2 or e-Stewards certified.

ACB itself is not R2 or e-Steward certified, but its downstream recyclers are. Due to ACB’s process for material handling, certification is provided for all commodities by its vendors. A pdf on "ACB's Downstream Vendors Paperwork and Certifications" is attached.


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.