Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 80.17
Liaison Mike Wilson
Submission Date May 5, 2020

STARS v2.2

University of Victoria
OP-20: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 Amanda Muench
OHSE Consultant
Occ Health, Safety & Envir
"---" 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:

The OHSE dept have a comprehensive hazardous waste management system in place to deal with regulated and non-regulated hazardous waste from all areas on campus; undergrad/teaching labs, research labs, facilities, and on campus medical centre. UVic has implemented strategies to reduce the amount of chemical, biological and radioactive waste via a chemical inventory system, weekly removal of above wastes via a third party contractor and encouragement of shared chemical use for other lab and or research users.

UVic has implemented a number of initiatives over the years to reduce hazardous chemical and biological waste:

1) A Waste Optimization project was undertaken which:
a. Reduced the amount of disposal of non-hazardous wastewater (buffers, saline solutions) from having to go through to the hazardous waste system. This helped reduce the environmental footprint for those chemicals that could be safely disposed into the receiving municipal system. Rigorous external stakeholder engagement was undertaken in conjunction with the local municipal regulatory authority (Capital Regional District- CRD), as well as lab verification tests to ensure any disposal to through the receiving environmental meet and or surpass environmental compliance limits. See: https://www.uvic.ca/ohse/environment/waste/wastewater/index.php. Certain non-hazardous lab wastewaters such as salt and buffer solutions can be safely disposed of in the sink while maintaining compliance with environmental regulations. Reducing the amount of non-hazardous waste entering the hazardous waste stream makes both economic and environmental sense.
b. Liquid Biological Waste optimization: https://www.uvic.ca/ohse/environment/waste/liquid-waste/index.php. As part of a multi-phase hazardous waste optimization project, level I and Level II liquid biological waste (i.e. cultures, supernatants, media) all liquid waste can be disposed of using safe sink disposal following one either a bleach or autoclave treatment as outlined by OHSE.

2) A mercury thermometer exchange program successfully removed over 325 mercury thermometers out of the UVic system. The Hg thermometers were exchanged for less toxic alcohol-based thermometers and the old mercury thermometers were sent for hazardous waste disposal. On a go forward basis, labs are encouraged to use only non- mercury thermometers. An educational initiative was also set up and communicated regarding the safe use and precision to the Hg alternatives and embedded on the Green Labs web page for reference if Researchers want to compare precision data.

3) Also, UVic promotes hazardous waste reducing initiatives in labs through our Green Labs website. One example is the use of EPA Green Chemistry guidelines where faculty, staff and students can look up chemicals used in their labs and identify less hazardous alternatives. This is promoted via Lab Safety for Lab User training, and also during annual lab inspections.

4) Safe Chemical Substitution Initiative that was promoted is the use of SYBR® Safe DNA Gel Stain instead of Ethidium Bromide, a potent mutagen, which has been the standard in microbiology for decades. Many labs on campus have already made the switch to eliminate Ethidium Bromide from their lab environment which has significantly reduced the hazard level in the lab, and has also significantly reduced the toxicity of the hazardous waste produced.

5) Non-anatomical efficient pail Disposal: Initiative to optimize yellow non-anatomical biological pail use to ensure that regular garbage is not part of this hazardous waste stream. See: https://www.uvic.ca/ohse/assets/docs/haz-waste/yellowpail.pdf

6) Lab Glassware recycling protocol: https://www.uvic.ca/ohse/assets/docs/haz-waste/LabGlasswareProtocol_Mar2017.pdf

7) Lab Freezer Chill Up Initiative: We are also continually seeking initiatives in conjunction with other departments and as such a Lab Freezer Initiative is currently underway which would optimize the use of -80 Celsius lab freezers. To date, internal stakeholder consultation has been conducted and then the University will move onto Phase 2 of this project which would see interested lab users increase their freezer temperatures to -70 Celsius and also continue with a freezer sample inventory cleanout.

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

UVic’s Hazardous Waste Management program utilizes specialized contractors to collect, package and dispose of hazardous wastes generated on campus. The waste is transported to various off-site facilities for treatment and final disposal. The third party contractors are also audited to ensure the University is meeting its environmental compliance responsibilities cradle to grave. This program ensures compliance with the Capital Regional District's Source Control & Sewer Use by-law and associated Laboratory Code of Practice, which limits discharge of liquid waste into the sewer system.

See: http://www.crd.bc.ca/wastewater/sourcecontrol/bylaw.htm and http://www.crd.bc.ca/wastewater/sourcecontrol/business/laboratory.htm.

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

None to report.

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

Each laboratory on campus is responsible to maintain an inventory of their chemicals in a central university database by WorkSafe BC regulations. Through the use of this online inventory, labs are able to search the database and share chemicals with other labs if requested. Also, when a Researcher exits the University there is an opportunity to reuse that individual’s lab chemicals for other lab users who are still engaged in research and or teaching activities so this resource can be mitigated from unnecessarily entering the hazardous waste stream.

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 generated from staff, students, and faculty at UVic is collected by the surplus assets coordinator and either re-purposed, or sent to local recycling facilities through Encorp’s Return-It Electronics Recycling Program. Nothing is sent to the landfill or shipped overseas.

E-waste disposal is strictly regulated in British Columbia by the Environmental Management Act’s Recycling Regulation. This act allows the provincial authorities to award sole responsibility for e-waste recycling to a single organization, in this case the BC Electronic Product Recycling Association (EPRA), under their publicly available Stewardship Plan. Pacific LTD agents on Vancouver Island provide electronic waste recycling for the University of Victoria. Encorp agents are full service ERPA drop-off locations. Encorp uses R2 certified organizations as primary vendors to provide recycling services for the designated end-of-life electronics collected under Encorp’s Return-It Electronics program in British Columbia. After rigorous environmental audit and assessment process, the designated primary vendors to provide recycling services for end-of-life electronics collected under the Return-It Electronics Program in British Columbia are currently E-Cycle Solutions, FCM Recycling, and GEEP.

Read more about the process here: https://www.return-it.ca/electronics/recycling/productrecycling/

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 hazardous waste management system is designed to deal with hazardous wastes on campus in an environmentally responsible manner; maintaining compliance with local regulations and demonstrating a best practices approach to environmental safety.

Electronic Recycling at UVic: https://www.uvic.ca/sustainability/topics/waste/recycle/electronics/index.php

Surplus Asset Manger: https://www.uvic.ca/purchasing/staff-faculty/surplus-asset-management/index.php

British Columbia Electronic Recycling Process: https://www.return-it.ca/electronics/recycling/productrecycling/

UVic Hazardous Waste: https://www.uvic.ca/ohse/environment/waste/index.php

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.