UConn Office of Environmental Policy

Promoting sustainability at UConn

Surplus Department Helps UConn Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

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UConn’s Surplus Department plays a significant role in helping the University achieve its environmental goals, especially when it comes to waste reduction and recycling. The main objective of Surplus is to help all University departments properly dispose of University property—furniture, electronics and equipment that are no longer needed or serviceable. Surplus works in conjunction with Central Stores and both departments are part of Logistics Administration.

Although we typically think of recycling when we see the three arrow symbol, the real meaning is the “Three Rs” of the waste hierarchy: reduce, reuse and recycle.  Often, the OEP focuses on outreach aimed at changing individual behavior in order to increase recycling of everyday items, like bottles, cans, paper and cardboard.  This past year, we’ve collaborated with the Surplus Department to raise awareness about the benefits of institutional efforts across the entire waste hierarchy.  Surplus services translate directly to increases in the Three Rs and better quantification and reporting of these benefits have helped UConn reduce its environmental footprint and achieve the #1 ranking in the 2013 Sierra Club Cool Schools survey.

Special thanks to Annemarie Ryan of Surplus and Central Stores for writing and contributing this informative post about how her department helps UConn reduce, reuse and recycle!

REDUCE

The Surplus Department’s first task is to reduce the number of items that are purchased by recirculating existing extra (or surplus) items.  Surplus items are transferred to and from departments—tables, chairs, cabinets, lab equipment, electronics, and more. In addition to sparing the environment, this saves taxpayers money; receiving departments do not spend state funds buying new items.

Surplus Showroom

University employees are welcome to visit the Surplus Showroom to “tag” furniture, electronics, and equipment for departmental use at no cost—a great way to reap savings and spare already stretched budgets.

The Depot Campus Showroom located at 6 Ahern Lane is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 1 to 3pm.

REUSE

The Surplus Department supports reuse by selling items at the Public Surplus Store. “Much of the furniture and equipment gets a new life, either by being used by other departments or sold at our Public Surplus Store,” said Joe Hollister, Surplus Supervisor.

Public Surplus Store

The Public Surplus Store located on the Depot Campus at 6 Ahern Lane is open 10am to 3pm on the second Friday of every month. It is open to all University staff, students, and the general public. Only cash payments are accepted.

Crowds looking for deals at the monthly Public Surplus Store sale.

Crowds looking for deals at the monthly Public Surplus Store sale.

RECYCLE

Finally, the Surplus Department recycles what cannot be reused. Other surplus is recycled to certified recycler companies. Last year alone, the Surplus Department recycled 230 tons of obsolete equipment and 84 tons of electronic waste (e-waste).  E-waste consists of damaged or discarded electronic devices and associated materials. E-waste items cannot be discarded in regular trash due to their high concentrations of toxic chemicals and heavy metals. Some of the e-waste recycled last year: computers, monitors, office equipment, cell phones, blackberries, and television sets.

Surplus Student Employees preparing a copier for recycling

Surplus Student Employees preparing a copier for recycling

In addition, Central Stores provides a pickup service to departments for recycling their used printer and fax toner cartridges. Over the past three years, more than 9,500 cartridges have been recycled using this service.

New E-Waste Recycling Bins

As part of the University’s ongoing environmental stewardship efforts, Logistics Administration, including the Surplus Department and the Document Production Center, has partnered with the Office of Environmental Policy to improve an important component of the University’s e-waste program.

New e-waste recycling bins designed by the Document Production Center are conveniently located at highly visible and well traversed areas, including the Student Union, the Co-op, and Homer Babbidge Library. Each location has one bin for inkjet cartridges, a second bin for batteries/laptop batteries, and a third bin for cell phones.

New E-Waste Recycling Bins at the Student Union

The entire University community—students, staff, and faculty—are encouraged to use the new e-waste recycling bins to keep their e-waste out of landfills.

For more information about e-waste recycling and the new recycling bins, please visit: http://ecohusky.uconn.edu/recycling/ewaste.html.

Surplus Cleanup Campaign Big Success

Last summer, Surplus ran a very successful cleanup campaign. Departments were given a special opportunity to easily dispose of their surplus. Surplus employees went to departments’ locations, completed paperwork, and picked up surplus—all in one shot.

“Summer is the best time for us to help departments dispose of surplus and clean up their classrooms, labs, and offices because we have UConn students working more hours during the summer break,” said Hollister. “We thank all departments who took part in this initiative to help UConn advance its environmental goals and campus beautification efforts.” Jeff Ward, Hollister’s right-hand man added, “We also extend a special thanks to our student workforce. We could not have completed this massive job without our student employees who dug in everyday and never complained.”

Processed requests ranged from picking up laptop computers to hauling away multiple truckloads of surplus. Some impressive facts and figures:

  • 88 surplus pickups received and processed from almost as many departments.
  • 32 full truckloads of furniture and electronics removed. (Surplus trucks are 7 feet wide x 14 feet long.)
  • 27 pallets of e-waste recycled—roughly a full tractor load weighing about 15.5 tons.

Surplus Policies and Procedures

The Legal Stuff

Per Public Act 91-256, the University has the authority to dispose of surplus, unused and/or unserviceable equipment and supplies. Proper disposal of University property is required pursuant to Section 4a-77a of the General Statutes. Surplus Management determines if items sent to Surplus will be recycled to the University or discarded. After 30 days, surplus not selected for transfer to another department may be sold at the Public Surplus Store. University property can never be discarded without approval by Surplus Management.

ACT 39 Forms and Kuali (KFS)

To obtain surplus, departments complete an ACT 39 Form, available at the Surplus Showroom. To send items to Surplus, departments complete an ACT 39 Form or use the KFS Capital Assets System.

For complete information about Surplus procedures, visit the Central Stores website or contact Surplus at 486-3094.

Author: UConn OEP

The Office of Environmental Policy at the University of Connecticut brings together students, faculty, staff, and the community for a more environmentally sustainable campus.

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