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 normally. In response to this, Washington University in St. Louis has special procedures for these waste materials.
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.
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.
All toner cartridges should be purchased through Copying Concepts, our preferred vendor for printer toner. They will accept empty toner cartridges for recycling during their campus deliveries.
Most paint is latex-based and can be disposed of in any landfill container. Before disposal, either solidify the paint with soil, sand, cat litter or some other inert material, or place it in thick plastic bags that prevent the paint from spilling all over the dumpster.
Enamel and acrylic paints 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.
School of Medicine Campus