Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 69.87
Liaison Cindy Shea
Submission Date Dec. 23, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
OP-20: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Catherine Brennan
Executive Director
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:

UNC’s Environment, Health and Safety Department(EHS) teaches a variety of lab classes that stress the importance of safety, emphasize buying lesser quantities of chemicals for lab needs, and encourage substituting non-hazardous chemicals when possible. UNC EHS facilitates a yearly Safety Fair so students and faculty can get current information from both EHS and campus vendors. EHS also promotes sustainability through the national Green Labs initiative, and has implemented a mercury thermometer buy-back program that substitutes mercury-based thermometers with a solvent-based thermometer, thereby reducing the impact of mercury spills and contamination.

During laboratory moves and/or close-outs, the EHS Department promotes sharing of unneeded chemicals and/or lab equipment that would otherwise be destroyed with other labs.

The Service Station practices just-in-time purchases of bulk oil and the cogeneration facility purchases just-in-time non-bulk chemicals and lubricants.

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

All hazardous waste generated by teaching and research laboratories, maintenance and facilities service activities, a cogeneration facility, the Horace Williams airport, and the Finley golf course is disposed of through RFP approved hazardous waste vendors. UNC Chapel Hill recycled 30% of all waste generated that the Department of Environment, Health and Safety handled in 2019. Solvents comprised over half the total recycled materials.

EHS offers training classes, on-line waste management and pick-up tutorials, as well as publicly available resources to assist personnel within generating areas to properly manage their wastes. Hazardous materials are typically managed through an on-line registration and management system designed to streamline documentation requirements and more efficiently track waste streams from point of generation to recycling/disposal. Wherever possible, and consistent with its waste minimization goals, UNC Chapel Hill endeavors to recycle waste streams including batteries, circuit boards, lamp ballasts and bulbs, computer equipment, x-ray, photo processing and microfiche film, film fixer solvents, lead and silver solder, mercury dental amalgam, and empty 5-gallon metal cans.

Florescent bulbs are collected and shipped through EHS to an approved vendor for recycling. (UNC recycled ~11,500 kg of florescent bulbs in 2019). Lead-acid batteries are collected from various sites throughout campus, stored at the Hazardous Materials Facility and shipped to the state approved vendor for recycling. (UNC recycled 4,500kg in 2019). Mercury switches and liquid mercury are also collected by EHS and recycled through an approved hazardous material vendor.

Non-regulated chemical wastes are bulked when possible at the University’s Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility and incinerated at an approved disposal facility. Labs are discouraged from throwing away non-hazardous materials, and instructed not to pour most liquids down the drain. Those chemicals can still be toxic to the local water supply.

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

There were no significant hazardous material release incidents during the previous three years.

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

Members of the science and research labs community on campus created an equipment and supply share listserv. Campus community members may join and post to the list offering and requesting items, including laboratory chemicals.

EHS does not currently have an inventory system to reuse or redistribute chemicals campus-wide, but is working towards that goal. During laboratory clean-outs and relocations, EHS does redistribute chemicals and equipment to neighboring labs.

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:

As of July 2011, all electronic waste was banned from landfills in North Carolina. All UNC computer equipment that is no longer wanted (including non-working equipment) should be taken to UNC Surplus Property. Computer equipment is then sent to State Surplus property. Working computer equipment is sold through State Surplus Property, and non-working equipment is repaired for use in North Carolina schools. Computer equipment that can not be repaired is recycled. Surplus Property removes all data from the equipment before equipment is sold or recycled.

UNC’s Surplus Property Office sends broken and unsold electronics to Powerhouse Recycling. Powerhouse Recycling uses recycling equipment that shreds and separates electronics into their original material of plastics, steel, aluminum, precious metals, and recycles and recovers commodities into reusable products. As a precaution, Powerhouse Recycling assures compliance with privacy laws by making sure that any data is written over.

Students can recycle personal computer equipment and peripherals at the Frank Porter Graham Student Union. Electronic waste bins are located by the 1st floor presentation space and the 2nd floor lounge (by Alpine Bagel). Students can recycle their cell phones in the Student Union E-waste recycling bins or at area offices of their housing communities. Clear display jugs are located in each area office — just drop it off in the jug.

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

Website URL where information about the institution’s hazardous waste program is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

For more detailed information regarding waste minimization, see the UNC-EHS Waste Minimization Report: https://ehs.unc.edu/files/2018/02/waste-minimization-report.pdf

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.