Climate-conscious change for campus waste disposal
UIC produces about 58 tons of hazardous waste each year from its research laboratories, the hospital and other campus facilities.
With that much waste, it’s critical to keep sustainability in mind, said Heather Jackson, assistant director in the UIC Environmental Health and Safety Office. The campus has signed an agreement with a new hazardous waste disposal vendor, Tradebe, which will provide a climate-conscious change, Jackson said.
“The campus generates a lot of waste and we want to try to manage it in the most environmentally responsible way possible,” she said. “There were opportunities to be more sustainable.”
The Environment Health and Safety Office’s Chemical Safety group selected the new vendor because of its local facility in East Chicago, Indiana. The previous vendor transported waste to Texas and Utah for incineration.
“The new vendor is about 30 minutes away, which causes less greenhouse gas emissions,” Jackson said.
The new vendor also uses Solid Distillation System technology, which bakes rather than incinerates the waste to recycle organic compounds and metals. This process generates less carbon dioxide emissions and reduces the release of hazardous materials into the atmosphere.
The process supports the university’s climate commitments of becoming a Carbon Neutral Campus and a Zero Waste Campus, she said.