The Emerald Energy Program is an innovated alternative method for the treatment and disposal of bio-hazardous waste. Compared to the traditional method of autoclaving and landfilling the waste, the Emerald Energy Program is a more sustainable practice for this laboratory waste stream. This program diverts waste from the autoclave and landfill to an incineration facility in California. At the treatment facility, the waste is incinerated to produce steam. The process of incineration leads to thermal energy, which is transferred to power local power grids. CSUSM does not send any medical waste to the landfill for disposal.
The Emerald Energy Program capitalizes on new and innovative technologies to manage biological waste streams. There are many benefits to the University and our surrounding communities. The reduction of water and energy use to power the autoclaves means that precious resources are saved. In addition to the reduction of the Universities energy consumption, the waste is not taken to local landfills. In addition to the environmental benefits, these waste management practices are actually cheaper to the University. The waste-to-energy process is a complete reversal of how we as CSU’s can approach waste management. By identifying and leveraging new technologies, the CSU’s can lead the way in waste management.
The Emerald Energy Program is specific to managing BSL-1 Biological Waste generated in the laboratories. In order to join this program, the laboratory must consult with Safety, Health & Sustainability before the program can be implemented. The operations and biological agents being used within the laboratory will determine whether or not the laboratory is eligible to join the program.
Besides receiving approval from Safety, Health & Sustainability the laboratory has to change a few lab practices and some signage. All approved Emerald Energy laboratories must have a red disposal bin with the required signage on top of the lid. The trash bags used in the bins must be 1.5ml clear and double bagged.
The program is designed to take classified BSL-1 Biological Waste and manage it in a more sustainable way. This is accomplished by incinerating the BSL-1 waste, which the facility converts the heat energy from burning the waste into electrical energy. This electrical energy is then added to the power grid. This program also diverts waste from entering the landfill, reduces cost, and supports CSUSM’s vision of a sustainable environment.