Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.87
Liaison Elias Platte-Bermeo
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
OP-20: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
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?:
Yes

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

USC’s Hazardous Materials Division of Environmental Health & Safety works closely with all campus departments and vendors, and continues to search for new technologies to reduce the university’s hazardous waste. Currently, the institution disposes of its chemical bulk waste every 14 days for fuel blending. Fuel blending reduces the overall waste disposal costs for the university and supports the institution’s sustainability objectives. USC Hazardous waste disposes of the university’s oily rads pack waste every 45 days for dolds to energy. The institution’s universal waste is disposed of every 5-7 days.


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

At USC, recyclable hazardous waste includes flammable and halogenated solvents that are fuel-blended along with waste oils to power cargo ships. Oily rags are processed as solids-to-energy for the activation of cement kilns. Additionally, silver from spent photographic reagents is recovered for reuse, alkaline batteries are recycled, and non-expired, surplus chemicals from research laboratories are re-distributed where needed. Some non-recyclable hazardous waste includes biomedical and radioactive waste from research facilities; pharmaceuticals and chemotherapeutics; and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).

USC’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) recycles thousands of pounds of hazardous, universal, and non-regulated chemical waste each year, with the amount of each type of material recycled fluctuating over the course of the year.

To start the Hazardous Chemical Waste collection process, USC employees should take the following steps:
1) Segregate chemical waste into appropriate waste streams. Do not mix solid waste with liquid waste.
2) Select the appropriate chemical containers for disposal.
3) Fill out an adhesive hazardous waste label or tag (supplied by EH&S) and apply to each container (see Hazardous Waste Labeling Guide Sheet for details: http://tiny.cc/usc-hazwaste-lblng).
4) Stage the containers per instructions in the Hazardous Waste Prep and Staging Guide Sheet (http://tiny.cc/usc-ehs-hazwastePrp).
5) Request a hazardous waste pick-up via the USC EHSA portal.

To start the Biohazardous (Infectious) Waste collection process, USC employees should take the following steps:
1) Select the appropriate bio containers2 for disposal.
2) Keep 33-gallon containers clean at all times. DO NOT remove the inner red bag.
3) DO NOT exceed the “fill line” of sharps and pharmaceutical/chemotherapy containers.
4) Request a hazardous waste pick-up via the USC EHSA portal.

For universal waste, members of the USC community can request a universal waste pick-up online (http://tiny.cc/hazWaste-PU) or contact USC Surplus Sales to schedule a pick up of any reusable equipment in order to extend the product's lifespan.

For more information on USC's waste disposal practices, see the below fact sheets created by USC’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety:

Universal Waste Management fact sheet: https://ehs.usc.edu/files/Universal-Waste.pdf
Recycling Hazardous Waste fact sheet: https://ehs.usc.edu/files/ehs-fact-sheet-recycling-hazardous-waste.pdf
Hazardous Waste Disposal fact sheet: https://ehs.usc.edu/files/haz-waste-disposal-guide-sheet.pdf


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

A fuel spill occurred from an overfilled above ground storage tank (AST). The spill totaled to less than 100 gallons and was pumped out from fill lines. It was shipped off-site for fuel blending to allow for the use of the off-spec fuel.


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

USC’s Office of Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) uses the EHSA System webpage. This function allows campus researchers and appropriate staff to upload, confirm, and change their chemical inventory. This helps maintain an accurate university-wide inventory and allows EH&S to know of the presence of specific hazards. Users can sort the inventory using various categories (e.g. room location) for easier use. 98% of unwanted chemicals are managed as hazardous waste.


Does the institution have or participate in a program to responsibly recycle, reuse, and/or refurbish electronic waste generated by the institution?:
Yes

Does the institution have or participate in a program to responsibly recycle, reuse, and/or refurbish electronic waste generated by students?:
Yes

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:

University Policy requires USC Housing to collect any unwanted electronic waste and contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety (EH&S). All regulated waste must be managed by EH&S in accordance with all federal, state and local regulations. USC offices and departments may request a universal waste pickup from EH&S. However, the university encourages the diversion of any functional electronics to the USC Surplus Sales campus store. USC Surplus Sales campus store resells electronic equipment and other items to USC students, staff, and faculty in order to extend the lifespan of products. The university's Universal Waste Management fact sheet also emphasizes various methods of reducing e-waste before providing information about placing a request for Environmental Health and Safety to dispose of any universal waste.

For more information, see the Universal Waste fact sheet: https://ehs.usc.edu/files/Universal-Waste.pdf


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

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