Hazardous materials, such as old batteries, televisions and fluorescent light bulbs, have the potential to wreak havoc on the natural environment and aren’t safe to throw away conventionally. In response to this, Washington University in St. Louis has special procedures for these waste materials.
The Office of Sustainability is partnering with Mail Services and WashU IT to launch the Office Supply Exchange, a pilot program designed to facilitate the recirculation of useful office materials. The program serves as a centralized process for donating and receiving office supplies and is open to employees on all WashU campuses with access to internal mail circulation routes. Learn more about donating or receiving office supplies.
Post functional but unwanted furniture, appliances and equipment for internal recirculation through Resource Management’s online exchange. Learn more about donating or receiving surplus property or search the listing here. You can also find a listing of area non-profits seeking donations here.
Environmental Health & Safety accepts unwanted electronics and appliances, sending them to material recovery centers. The items are stripped down into their constituent materials, which are then recovered and reused. Contaminated (chemical, radioactive and infectious) equipment will not be accepted. This is a free service, but Environmental Health & Safety does not have the resources to accommodate pickups of equipment that is heavier than 750 pounds or greater than six feet in any direction. It is the responsibility of your department to hire commercial vendors to facilitate removal and disposal of equipment that Environmental Health & Safety cannot handle. Fire codes do not allow storage of electronic equipment in corridors on the WashU campus. Departments are responsible for compliance with storage requirements until Environmental Health & Safety removes the equipment. Request a waste pickup by completing the Environmental Health & Safety form.
Our staff collects all rechargeable batteries and nonalkaline (such as nickel cadmium, lead acid and lithium) for recycling. Battery casings should be intact and free of leaks. Request a pickup by completing the Environmental Health & Safety form.
Nonrechargeable alkaline batteries go in the trash. Their toxicity in a landfill is low so there is no regulatory requirement to divert these batteries. Additionally, alkaline batteries are not effectively recycled because the limited amount of material collected from the battery utilizes more resources to reprocess and remanufacture the materials than the manufacture of batteries from raw materials. Many alkaline battery recyclers still landfill most of the battery. The pollution generated and energy utilized during the recycling process is an overall negative outcome. We encourage the use of rechargeable batteries to reduce the purchase of new batteries and to utilize a product that is more beneficially recycled. Don’t be a “wish-cycler” (someone who puts materials in the recycling or hordes them just because you think it SHOULD be recyclable. Buy rechargeable batteries that reduce waste AND can be recycled.
Office Essentials, WashU’s preferred office supplies vendor, offers free and convenient recycling for printer and copier toner cartridges. Return cartridge to original box (or another box if original is gone); label OE Toner Empty Return.
If you receive Office Essentials deliveries directly at your office, you can give them empty cartridges at that time. If you do not receive direct deliveries (select School of Medicine accounts), return boxes will need to be taken to a dock for return: 4444 Forest Park; 4523 Clayton Ave; 425 S. Euclid Ave. Look for a cart/box labeled Office Essentials Returns.
If you do not order office supplies through Office Essentials or you have cartridges you would like to dispose of, mail-in programs are available through the cartridge/printer manufacturer. Instructions for recycling cartridges through Cannon, Konica Minolta, Kyocera, Hewlett Packard and Xerox can be found here.
Pickup and proper disposal of light bulbs and compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) through Environmental Health & Safety is a free service; however, Environmental Health & Safety will not be responsible for packing light bulbs. Any nonpacked materials will not be collected. Please provide the approximate quantity of light bulbs when you request pickup. Students may bring their CFLs to Home Depot for recycling.
Most paint is latex-based and can be disposed of in any landfill container. Before disposal, you must solidify the paint with soil, sand, cat litter or some other inert material.
Enamel and acrylic paints, and spray paint must be disposed of as a hazardous waste through Environmental Health & Safety, using the request form.
Empty paint cans can be placed in any landfill bin.
For the purposes of recycling confidential documents, our local vendor, Shred-it, provides a locked security container that can be used for discarded sensitive information. There is no need to remove staples or paper clips from white paper, colored paper, file folders, transparencies, window envelopes or plastic cards before you place them in a Shred-It container.
A bonded customer security representative transfers the contents directly to a truck parked on-site where the destruction takes place. No documents leave the premises until they are destroyed and 100 percent of the shredded paper is delivered to regional paper mills for recycling. In 2010, WUSTL saved 12,536 trees from destruction through our shredding efforts with Shred-It.
Environmental Health & Safety collects unwanted glues, sprays, poisons and other hazardous chemicals for proper disposal. Fill out a waste pickup request form to have hazardous materials removed.
These items are not accepted through single stream recycling or special recycling. Tips:
- DVD and CD cases can be recycled if you see a #1-#5 recycling symbol. Remove any paper and recycle the plastic and paper separately in single stream.
- VHS cases can be recycled if they are paper or #1-#5 plastic
- DVDs, CDs, and VHS can be recycled for a fee through Spectrum E-Cycle (for about $.60/lb). Contact them for drop off details.
Questions? Visit the EHS Waste Disposal Resources page for contacts and more information.