Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 66.31
Liaison Natalie Walker
Submission Date Aug. 9, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Pennsylvania
OP-20: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Natalie Walker
Sustainability Manager
Penn 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:

Penn's Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) centrally regulates the management and disposal of chemicals and other hazardous materials on campus. Among other issues, EHRS provides guidance on bio-safety in labs and research departments, maintains a Chemical Inventory of all hazardous chemicals on campus, and provides instructions on the use of piranha gas-producing solutions. EHRS also manages the storage and safe removal of universal waste, including mercury-containing materials (such as certain devices and lamps), batteries, and compact fluorescent bulbs. Disposal is only by state-approved and licensed vendors, the list of which is maintained by EHRS.

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

Penn has a waste plan for the disposal of hazardous waste produced in labs and research facilities. Infectious waste bins are denoted by red bins with the standard biohazard symbols on the bins. Infectious waste is picked up by a third-party vendor that incinerated the waste in a waste-to-energy facility, in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. Penn has strict rules for the disposal of hazardous waste, universal waste, and radioactive waste as well, managed by the Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety. These waste streams are also collected in accordance with regulation and removed by a third-party vendor.

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

There have not been any material release incidents.

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

The Office of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety (EHRS) offers University laboratories access to chemical inventory software to help Penn research faculty manage their chemical storage. The inventory system greatly improves the ability of individual laboratories to efficiently manage the purchase of hazardous chemicals and reduce the University's hazardous waste stream. All laboratories with hazardous chemicals are required to participate in the chemical inventory program.

ChemTracker module in BioRAFT inventory software is a high-performance, relational database system for tracking chemicals and other laboratory supplies. ChemTracker is a hosted, cloud-based solution and is completely web-based.

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:

Penn Computing’s Green IT website, https://www.isc.upenn.edu/green-it, provides extensive information on how Penn faculty and staff can recycle their e-waste. Additionally, the University has two preferred vendor contracts with two e-waste recyclers, E-Force and Elemental. Both of these firms were fully vetted with support from Penn’s Department of Environmental Health and Radiation Safety to ensure environmental standards are met. In addition, as of 2017 each vendor provides reporting to the Penn Sustainability Office on the amount of electronic waste removed from the campus. Electronic waste is routinely collected at several disposal sites on campus, and is also collected during the fall ""ReThink your Footprint"" drive managed by the Penn Sustainability Office, with support from Penn's EHRS Department.
For more information, see https://www.isc.upenn.edu/green-it

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:

The University of Pennsylvania is a major research institution, with over 3,000 degrees granted annually from twelve professional and academic schools at the Bachelor's, Master's, and Doctorate levels. Penn is committed to reducing emissions and energy use, as stated in the 2019 "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan 3.0". This submission documents Penn's efforts during the FY19/20 year and compares them to the FY09 baseline year which corresponds with the University's "Climate and Sustainability Action Plan. 3.0". The submission relies on information related to the main, academic, West Philadelphia campus, but to more fully document efforts across the Penn system, information related to the Morris Arboretum and New Bolton has also been referenced and noted as outside the boundary in descriptions. The information is used to enrich examples of University efforts and is not intended to be the primary justification for credits. The responses for each of the questions and sub-questions are drawn from University materials, both internal and public documents. Each section notes the website where the information can be found.

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.