Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.85
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Merced
OP-21: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.50 / 1.00 Mal Donohue
Environmental Heath & 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:

1. Waste minimization is presented and discussed in laboratory safety training which is mandatory for all personnel working in UC Merced laboratories; the training addresses pre-planning, elimination and substitution to reduce hazardous waste generation as well as minimizing chemical inventory to reduce expired chemical stock that will necessarily become waste including hazardous waste.

2. Lubricating oils in the research and teaching laboratories are recycled for reuse (vacuum pumps, compressors, etc.) to reduce waste generation.

3. UC Merced EH&S procures and utilizes “green” scintillation fluid for quarterly radiation wipe tests to reduce the toxicity of waste solvents generated.

4. Unused chemical products are collected and transferred to teaching laboratories for use in teaching lab experimental processes in order to minimize waste generation due to excess inventory.

5. Certain chemical products are reacted in order to render them less hazardous, e.g., liquid bio-hazardous wastes are reacted with bleach to reduce toxicity and subsequently released to the sanitary sewer system for waste water treatment. Acids and bases are neutralized during the process of elementary neutralization allowed by the hazardous waste regulations to render them less toxic. In addition, certain waste streams are precipitated to produce a more concentrated waste stream and reduce the volume of waste generated.

6. Short-lived radioactive waste isotopes are held for managed decay on-site whenever possible; this includes managing the decay of short-lived radioactive isotopes for a minimum of 10 half-lives and confirmation that the isotopic waste is not greater than 2x the level of background radioactivity prior to disposal in the sanitary waste stream.

7. UC Merced has implemented an initiative to recycle organic and inorganic solvents to reduce the volume and the toxicity of generated waste solvents from the laboratories. UC Merced also has an online tool to help manage chemical inventories to prevent excess accumulation of chemical products that become chemical waste upon expiration. This inventory tracking tool allows for the tracking of lab inventory to minimize duplicate ordering and allow for product sharing among labs.

8. UC Merced research and teaching laboratories are inspected regularly to ensure safety and identify opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle and recover (4 Rs).

9. UC Merced provides waste sorting and segregation to minimize solid waste accumulation and to maximize reuse and recycling.

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

1. Hazardous waste is classified, marked and managed in satellite accumulation within generator locations (e.g., managed storage locations within laboratories or work locations) and subsequently transferred to the on-site university managed <180-day storage area for managed storage prior to transport, treatment and disposal at a 3rd party licensed TSDF.

2. Radioactive waste is managed onsite for decay and sanitary waste disposal or is prepared for offsite transport and long-term management/disposal to a licensed radioactive waste disposal facility.

3. Regulated Medical Waste including biological waste animal cadavers and sharps waste is packaged, marked, labeled and managed onsite for temporary storage prior to waste transport, treatment and disposal at a licensed TSDF.

4. Universal waste is collected onsite, packaged and marked along with an accumulation start date for managed onsite storage prior to transport to a Universal Waste reclamation facility for recovery, treatment and disposal at a licensed universal waste facility.

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

On November 22, 2017, there was a spill and release of waste solvents within the University hazardous waste storage facility due to an accidental event involving a displaced storage shelf within a storage cabinet. The resulting spill and release remained within the room, the area was evacuated, and a professional hazmat response team was contacted and responded to assist with the spill cleanup and subsequent transport, treatment and disposal of the generated spill cleanup waste. The total volume of waste generated, including sorbent materials, containment materials and waste PPE was 15 ft^3 (i.e., two 55-gallon drums of was spill cleanup waste).

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

The University laboratories are equipped with a chemical inventory software that allows users to track receipt of new chemical products and remove chemical products used and used up during the course of a reaction or discarded as waste. This same management software also allows for the identification and redistribution of chemical product to other University laboratories to avoid any one laboratory from discarding an unused or unwanted chemical product as waste rather than allowing for reuse by another laboratory.

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 electronic waste is collected onsite and transported for managed storage prior to evaluation by University used equipment and materials management for resale at a University managed facility or dispositioned for recycling and subsequently packaged and transported to a licensed E-Waste facility for de-manufacturing and salvage.

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:

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

100% of the campus electronic waste is diverted from the landfill.

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.