Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 76.45
Liaison Ryan Ihrke
Submission Date Oct. 17, 2014
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

Green Mountain College
OP-25: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Aaron Witham
Director of Sustainability
Sustainability Office
"---" 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:

The facilities contractor, DTZ (UGL) has protocols in place and a MSDS for each chemical on campus. However, due to the fact that the College does not use pesticides and has a green chemistry program, there are very few sources of harmful chemicals. To deal with the potential for broken lightbulbs that are occasionally placed in e-waste containers, the sustainability office keeps a protocol document on hand for steps that one should take if a broken CFL bulb is found in one of the e-waste bins or anywhere on campus. In normal circumstances, broken lightbulbs are handled professionally by DTZ, the facilities contractor.

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

Broken lightbulbs are stored in the light bulb room in withey basement along with the burnt out bulbs until they are picked up and removed by a vendor for proper disposal. Broken bulbs are kept in a sealed container to ensure that they don't pose a hazard. Other hazardous materials are brought to facilities and processed by appropriate contractors. For example, broken refridgerators are processed annually with the waste company, Casella, who takes them to a facility to have the freon removed.

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

There have been no significant hazardous material releases during the last three years.

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

The chemicals are inventoried and used by multiple departments in order to facilitate use. Generally the College does not reuse chemicals, but they are distributed throughout the campus for common use.

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

Green Mountain College addresses electronic waste proactively on the purchasing in addition to retroactively when the material is at the end of its useful life.

While many colleges have a 4-year computer replacement cycle, GMC has a 5-6 year computer replacement cycle. In fact, sometimes the College uses desktops for 7 years. Part of the explanation is, of course, driven by finances. But, beyond budgetary considerations, the College believes that it is good environmental practice to maximize the life-cycle of computers by deliberately keeping them in use for as long a time period as feasible.

To this end, IT staff and work-study employees are dedicated to keeping machines maintained and in good working order. When a machine is finally recycled, all reusable parts are culled at GMC when possible: staff take out the memory, reuse the monitor, keyboard, mouse, and any other parts that can be salvaged. For example, in 2014, nine IMacs were restored and given to campus community members in need.

Every year, a certified e-waste recycling company picks up any computers, computer parts or monitors once they have reached the end of their useful life, so that the materials may be recycled. These items are stored in a large walk-in closet in the basement of the library until the e-waste company comes to collect the material each year during Earth Week.

Additionally, E-waste collection boxes are situated in the library, all major office buildings, and all residence halls. They collect desktop computers, laptops, hard drives, radios, monitors, projectors, cell phones (minus batteries), DVD players, VHS players, CDs, DVDs, batteries and lightbulbs. In addition to routine collection, the IT department and sustainability office co-host a large-scale e-waste collection event during Earth Week every year, where an e-waste recycling company comes to campus and accepts e-waste on the spot.

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

Collection bins have clear signage indicating that leaking or exposed hazardous material cannot be deposited in the bin—rather, students, staff, and faculty need to call DTZ for proper disposal. The custodial department of DTZ receives proper training on handling hazardous waste.

All collected e-waste is sent to a certified e-waste handler, except for light bulbs and miscellaneous items which are processed through DTZ's vendor.

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 or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.