Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 66.39
Liaison Shane Stennes
Submission Date Dec. 15, 2015
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.0

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
OP-25: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
1.00 / 1.00 August Horner
Sustainability Student Asst
Office of 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:

Reduce hazardous chemical waste.
- The volume of hazardous chemical waste generated at the University is reduced by: aggressive pollution prevention at the source (e.g., product substitution and process modification - downsizing to microscale), recovery and reuse of certain hazardous chemicals, disposal of nonhazardous waste separately from hazardous chemical waste, redistribution of unused and reusable chemicals into teaching and research laboratories, and timely collection of chemical waste from University laboratories and shops.


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

The University of Minnesota operates a licensed Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF), the Thompson Center for Environmental Management is regularly inspected by EPA and Hennepin County staff. Hennepin County is the authority delegated by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency. The DEHS provides service to the entire University of Minnesota system and to non-profit customers, especially schools, through our Chemical Safety Day Program. There have been no incidents that posed a risk to persons or the environment during the 20 years we have operated from TCEM.

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

One petroleum release MN Leak 00011802 occurred at the Old Main heating plant on July 19, 2013 when a contractor cut a pipe containing oil in a utility tunnel. The pipe was to be abated and removed as part of a demolition project and the tunnel was planned to be abandoned. Because the tunnel was a confined space with no ventilation and dangerous access, the oil was left in place and the tunnel was filled with flowable concrete.

We have had several chemical releases inside of buildings. First response is by the fire department and mitigation is by EHS staff. These incidents are not reportable releases.

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

The Chemical Redistribution Program, housed at the Thompson Center, where unwanted, unopened chemical containers are made available to University laboratories. Product substitutions, including parts washers switched from flammable to biodegradable solvents are recycled, and replacement of flammable with biodegradable scintillation fluids is widely used in biomedical research. We have replaced over 4,000 mercury thermometers with nonhazardous thermometers through our ongoing thermometer exchange program. Our Facilities Management department has reduced the number, volume and toxicity of the custodial chemicals used.
Thompson Center sends waste for reuse or recycling whenever possible: energy rich solvents and oils are sent for energy reuse by fuel blenders; paints are sent for recycling or fuel blending; photo fixer, paper and film are sent to silver recovery, lamps for mercury and glass recovery, and scrap metal from drums, compressed gas cylinders, aerosols are all sent to reuse or recycling. Electronics are sent to recyclers of the internal components.

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):

The University of Minnesota outsources the recycling of used computer and electronics equipment to a third-party vendor, Dynamic Recycling, an environmentally friendly and secure vendor. Many types of electronic equipment are eligible for recycling, including but not limited to:

Fax Machines
Component parts

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

Dynamic was chosen based on many factors, but most importantly their environmental policy. Environmental responsibility is one of the most important factors in our entire decision-making process. We have a company culture of going the extra mile to ensure that we help ourselves and our customers reduce their carbon footprint. We have a strict “No Landfill” policy and we guarantee that no untested units get sent to developing countries. We ensure that all your electronics will be recycled to the fullest extent. This is witnessed through our “No landfill” policy for any electronics, components or residuals from our de-manufacturing and recycling processes. Dynamic Recycling is committed to conducting all of its operations in an environmentally sustainable manner. To achieve this, we are committed to assessing our environmental aspects, improving our procedures and processes, and reducing our environmental impact.
A major part of being environmentally responsible is through the downstream vendor selection process. All vendors that handle focus materials (circuit boards and items containing them, CRT devices/CRT glass, batteries, items containing mercury, items containing PCBs, and ink/toner) are rigorously audited for appropriate environmental, health, and safety standards, as well as proper material handling and the tracking for the final disposition of focus materials. We do not permit the use of any vendors that send complete untested units to developing countries, and will continue to prefer using vendors that process scrap domestically and maintain favored recycling techniques. The waste and waste byproducts we generate are handled in a way that reduces the risk of releases into the air, land, or water, and we ensure the safe treatment and disposal of all waste. We have a pollution liability policy of $5,000,000 and are registered with the EPA and WI DNR as a Large Quantity Handler of Universal Waste.

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 and complete the Data Inquiry Form.