Minimizing Hazardous Waste through Chemical Exchange

Project Leads: Kelley Etherington, Pat Goff, Karen Ko

Sponsor: Environment, Health & Safety

TGIF Grant:

Project Theme: Waste Reduction

Project Location

2012 Application Submission

Application Cost-Benefit Analysis

Chemical Exchange Website: 

Complete ($1,715 in remaining funds returned to TGIF for reallocation)

Project Description: This grant will fund a student intern charged with creating an online chemical exchange program to reduce the quantity of chemicals purchased by UC Berkeley, reduce the amount of hazardous materials in storage, and reduce hazardous waste disposal and associated costs.

Goals: Select, photograph, and store chemicals for reuse. Research other chemical reuse programs and ideas. Identify which chemicals are in the most demand and by whom; set up an email alert system when something comes in that the labs use. Redesign web interface on CHEX home page. Advertise free chemicals on BearBuy. Modify EH&S databases to make it easier for clients to post items available for reuse. Reduce hazardous waste generation which will reduce the amount of fuel it takes to ship the chemicals and hazardous wastes to and from campus, assisting UC Berkeley with its greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal. Advertise new system to UC Berkeley departments and labs.

TGIF Blog Posts about Chemical Exchange

2013 Project Poster

CHEX Flyer2012-2013 Accomplishments

  • Hired CHEX Intern Karen Ko.
  • Developed Chemical Exchange Project Implementation Steps with TGIF Coordinator.
    1. Research existing programs (if any) at UC Berkeley.
    2. Research existing programs at peer institutions.
      • What are the common themes or best practices?
    3. Develop proposal for establishing a program at UC Berkeley.
      • Proposal should be built upon the best practices from other programs that will possibly work at UC Berkeley.
      • Present proposal to EH&S.
      • Present proposal to Procurement (for possible collaboration with BearBuy).
    4. Develop a list of target audience at UC Berkeley.
      • Who is currently purchasing and using chemicals at UC Berkeley?
    5. Develop a physical program for chemical exchange.
      • Is there a pick-up system with set dates, times, and or locations each month?
    6. Develop an online database of chemicals available for exchange that can be merged with BearBuy.
    7. Develop Marketing Materials.
    8. Publicize the program to your target audience.
  • Created a flow chart/diagram for programmers to see project vision and goals.
  • Intern Karen Ko completed the following:
    • Researched existing chemical reuse programs at peer institutions and identified common themes and best practices of chemical reuse programs.
    • Developed a proposal for establishing a program at UC Berkeley and developed chemical acceptance guidelines.
      • Proposal was presented to EH&S staff and programmers and the proposal was approved.
    • Coordinated the temporary online inventory system through massive email exchanges and used a PDF file to continually update the inventory system.

Proposal Draft

Waste Reduction Metrics
  • During the month of March, Karen kept track of the inventory using a PDF file and counted that 36 chemicals were donated from the haz mat facility. As of June 2013, CHEX has over 300 chemicals in storage. This proves that the chemical inventory is growing and will bring significant sustainable impacts once the program is well established.
  • Two chemicals were successfully exchanged.

CHEX Flyer

CHEX Final Report 

This project will be carried on by EH&S as they pursue the online chemical exchange tool. 

Mission Statement

The Green Initiative Fund (TGIF) provides funding for projects that reduce UC Berkeley's negative impact on the environment and make UC Berkeley more sustainable. TGIF will allocate funds to projects that promote sustainable modes of transportation, increase energy and water efficiency, restore habitat, promote environmental and food justice, and reduce the amount of waste created by UC Berkeley. Portions of the fund also support education and behavior change initiatives, student aid (via return to aid), and internships. TGIF is supported by student fees and administered through a student-majority committee and a program coordinator.