Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 67.16
Liaison Mike Versteege
Submission Date June 24, 2020
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Alberta
OP-21: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Lois Dvorsky
Environment Manager
Environment, Health and 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?:

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


The University of Alberta has a centrally funded program to manage hazardous materials for recycling or disposal. Laboratories are encouraged to reduce the amount of chemicals they store by completing chemical audits and using targeted chemical disposal programs. Additionally, annual laboratory audits are conducted by the Operations Team that encourages labs to maintain only a minimal chemical inventory.


University departments using chemicals typically have central stores that manage many of the chemicals common to labs in the department. This allows for bulk purchasing, which reduces duplicate purchases and individual lab storage volumes.


University departments currently manage their own chemical and equipment reuse programs.

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

The University of Alberta has operated a centrally funded program to manage hazardous waste both on main campus and at our satellite campuses for over 50 years. The Hazardous Waste Program manages both hazardous and non-regulated waste, including chemical, radionuclide, bio-hazardous waste and some hazardous recyclables such as paint and mercury. The program operates with one technician and a supervisor. Both the tech and supervisor are trained in bio, chemical and radiation safety, defensive driving and Transportation of Dangerous Goods.

The Environment, Health and Safety (EHS) website provides information on management of hazardous waste, and EHS administers an electronic waste tracking program that maintains records of receipt and disposal of hazardous materials.

The hazardous, non-regulated and select universal waste for disposal are collected on campus and transported in accordance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations to the hazardous waste transfer facility. At the facility the waste is sorted and packed for transfer to a licenced hazardous waste disposal vendor. Solvents are bulked into two 10,000 litre tanks from which the contents are sent out with a licenced hazardous waste disposal vendor for disposal or recycling.

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

Yes there were two reported, both refrigerant releases:

On February 26, 2019, more than 10kg of R-22, an ozone depleting substance, was released from an air conditioning unit in the General Services Building (GSB) Data Centre. The unit was shut down and the remaining R-22 was recovered. The unit was repaired and recharged with RS-44 a non ozone depleting refrigeration.

On April 24, 2020, more than 10 kg of R-410A was released from a chiller unit located on the Book Repository at South Campus. The unit was shut down and the remaining R-410A was recovered. The unit was repaired and recharged. R-410A is not considered ozone depleting but was reported anyway.

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


Recycling of chemicals within the University is currently managed by individual departments. We are conducting a pilot test of a laboratory electronic inventory system with two departments, Chemistry and Pharmacy. This inventory program not only allows for development of a chemical database for each laboratory in the pilot but also allows labs to manage their own surplus or recycle materials by transferring the material directly to an interested lab.


In 2015/16 the Department of Chemistry received a grant from the Sustainability Enhancement Fund to purchase a solvent recycling unit for both the undergraduate teaching and research laboratories. The solvent recycler was down due to operational issues for approximately one year, but was restored to working order in September 2019. Since its purchase, approximately 1,444 litres of acetone have been recovered saving approximately $1,140.76 in chemical disposal costs.

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:


All university-owned electronic waste is processed through the Surplus Department at Supply Management Services (SMS). Individual departments are responsible for identifying the items and submitting a request to SMS for pickup. Once the request is received, SMS' drivers are dispatched to pick up the items. When the equipment arrives in SMS' warehouse, a sort is performed and it is prepared for transport off-campus by a local, government-approved recycler. The recycler is certified by the Government of Alberta and has met all the required safety and environmental standards within the province of Alberta. The local recycler processes the equipment responsibly and provides SMS with a record of destruction.


Collection centers are set up on campus by the university two times per year to collect large electronics. Smaller personal items can be dropped off at collection centres managed by the Students' Union and picked up by SMS. Students and staff are permitted to dispose of personal electronics, including old or obsolete computers, televisions and other electronic devices at these collection centres. The items are removed from campus and taken to our government-approved electronics recycler.

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:
49.81 Tonnes

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


Shannon Leblanc
Program Team Lead
Energy Management and Sustainable Operations
Facilities & Operations

Kris Urbanczyk
Associate Director, Distribution Services
Supply Management Services

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.