» Hazardous Waste Management

This chapter of the 2016 Audit focuses on understanding household hazardous waste needs concerning waste produced by students, staff, and faculty. Hazardous waste is defined as waste that is dangerous or potentially harmful to our health or that of the environment, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Items like batteries, computers, cell phones, printer ink cartridges, light bulbs, and electronics are classified as hazardous waste, and can be found in homes, hence the label ‘household hazardous waste.’

It is important for the university to create a household hazardous waste collection and disposal program for student, staff, and faculty generated waste to ensure these dangerous items are not being sent to landfills. For more information, refer to Chapter 4 of the 2016 Environmental Audit, written by Amelia Cunningham.

  • Collection and Disposal Needs
  • Collection and Disposal Recommendations
  • Household hazardous waste from students, staff, and faculty is not being completely properly disposed of through specialized hazardous waste processes. Chapman currently has processes to handle hazardous waste generated by campus activity, but no program for waste generated by university attendees. Evidence from the 2015 Survey, calls to the Office of Sustainability, and Henley Hall waste audits have found that students, staff, and faculty have trouble identifying hazardous waste and making the effort to follow through on proper disposal procedures. Therefore, there is a need for an on campus hazardous waste collection program. Interesting facts to support this need include:

    • 10 items of household hazardous waste found on both days of the Henley Hall waste audits (each day evaluated waste that had accumulated over 2 days from a single residence hall)
    • 30% of students, staff, and faculty surveyed were unaware that hazardous waste requires a separate disposal process
    • 71% of students, staff, and faculty surveyed find batteries difficult to dispose of (see Figure 1)

    Difficulty disposing

  • Given that 48% of students, faculty, and staff surveyed cited convenience as the greatest barrier to making more sustainable choices, having an on-campus hazardous waste collection program for waste generated by students, staff, and faculty would provide an accessible way to prevent these items from going to landfills. Since the university currently has disposal processes for waste generated by campus activity, collection of student, staff, and faculty generated hazardous waste could be directed into these same processes. Potential options for collection of student, staff, and faculty hazardous waste include:

    • Bins in main buildings and residence halls to collect smaller sized hazardous waste like cell phones and batteries
    • Collection drive at the end of the school year during move out times to collect hazardous waste that had been forgotten about during the school year
    • Moveable trailers or PODS placed in a parking space or sidewalk area on main campus to collect waste
    • An on campus room designated to waste collection
    • A work request system that facilitates collection of larger items like TVs or printers