Waste and Procurement Subcommittee

Chair: Terri Bechta

Goals and Priorities

Members of the Waste & Procurement Subcommittee identify waste streams across campus and develop initiatives to reduce them or make them less hazardous. Our primary goal is to reduce at the source, and not create any waste at all. If that isn’t possible, we look at ways to reduce the amount of waste produced and less hazardous to humans and the environment.

Helpful tools to evaluate our respective areas include the following:

Substitution or Product Reformulation – Is there a different product or chemical that can be used that is less hazardous or better for the environment (e.g. paper with recycled content; alcohol verses mercury thermometers; compostable vs plastic utensils; purchase “Energy Star” rated appliances)

Process Improvement – Can we change the process so less waste is produced (e.g. Use micro chemistry techniques in teaching labs – smaller experiments use less chemicals; Run steam condensate through a heat exchanger to use the heat value – use less energy to boil water; send electric documents instead of paper)

Improvement of Operations and Maintenance – Can we change how we do things so less waste is produced (e.g. Meter janitorial supplies to prevent overuse; use an approved drum crusher locally for fluorescent lamps to prevent breakage, print documents on both sides of a paper)

Recycling or Reuse – Can anything be recycled or used in some other way (e.g. composting of food; recycling of paper, concrete; use of treatment plant effluent, rain water for boiler water make up, irrigation or chilled water)

An important part of the committee’s work is to organize data to help track progress over time.

Current Projects

  • Janitorial chemicals for cleaning
  • Increased food composting and fats, oils and grease recycling
  • Mercury reduction in laboratories
  • Reclaimed water for boiler water make-up and water for the chillers
  • Rotary Evaporators for solvent purification in laboratories. Instead of using water for vacuum and cooling, us a vacuum pump and chiller
  • Fluorescent lamp recycling using a “bulb eater” to crush bulbs in a safe manner
  • Hard Drive/Magnetic Media Crusher
  • Lab Coat Laundering – safely launder lab coats instead of having researchers take coats home or wear soiled lab coats

Projects in Place

  • Furniture and mattress reuse, given to 3rd world countries
  • Residence hall collections at end of semester of nonperishable food, clothing, school supplies and the return of dining hall items
  • Composting of Food
  • Composting of leaves, stumps and farm animal bedding
  • Microscale chemistry
  • Chemical inventory system which includes bar coding of laboratory hazardous materials
  • Recycling of paper, bottles, cans, wood, electronics