4.4 Disposals Requiring Special Handling

Certain categories of assets require scrutiny above and beyond the routine PMO review given to all recorded assets prior to disposal. These categories also require the completion of additional processes that are unique to each group as specified below.


Questions about this policy can be answered by:

Stanley Dunn

Associate Director

Property Management Office

(650) 725-0081

To report a broken link or send comments/suggestions about property management content, send email to:


1. Computers/Universal Waste

Many electronic devices are considered universal waste upon disposal. This includes, but is not limited to computers, monitors or any equipment containing cathode ray tubes (CRT) or other significant electronic display, or items that contain internal circuitry (heavy metal containing cards and boards) such as cell phones, keyboards, printers, copiers, and many scientific devices.

These items are closely monitored by the University and disposal records may be reported to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). Disposal processes and inappropriate disposal of such items may be audited by these agencies at any time. Failure to adhere to appropriate methods of disposal may result in significant fines and other penalties.

Never dispose of such items in dumpsters or trash receptacles. Small electronics that are not recorded in the SFA property management database may be placed in electronic recycling buckets located throughout the campus by the Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). When cleaning out an office or a lab, volumes of small electronics in excess of 1-2 gallons by volume should be disposed of using the Stanford Property Administration Resource Center (SPARC) request system. Locations for buckets may be found on the EH&S Electronic Waste Recycling web site.

Larger electronic items will be collected by the Surplus Property Sales (SPS) once an appropriate excess request in received. SPS will remove and wipe or crush any hard drives that are in computers being picked up as excess. They also crush all hard drives being disposed of separately from a computer.

Back to top

2. Ownership

Ownership is a very important factor in the disposition of property. As steward for a large amount of property that is owned by sponsors and vendors, Stanford must take care to ensure that no property owned by others is inadvertently disposed without prior authorization. All equipment owned by others is required to be recorded in the Sunflower (SFA) property management database and ownership is annotated in the records. Ownership must be determined prior to disposition being completed.

A. Sponsor Owned Equipment

Items furnished to Stanford for sponsored projects require written approval from the sponsor prior to disposition. In the event property owned by a sponsor is no longer needed or becomes inoperable, steps should be immediately taken to obtain permission to return the property to the sponsor or to dispose of the property. If there is urgency in having the property removed from the site, contact the PMO to have the property moved to storage while written disposition instructions are sought. Federal Sponsor funded equipment with a current FMV of $5000.00 or more must also be reviewed by PMO before any sale is contemplated.

In all cases, documentation and communications with the sponsor should be performed by PMO. This is particularly important if the sponsor is an agency of the federal government, as there are specific federal forms required.

B. Leased and Loaned Equipment

Items leased or loaned to Stanford by vendors or other entities also require written approval prior to disposition. The exception is the return of the property to the lending entity. An acknowledgement of receipt must be obtained from the lending entity when the property is returned, and PMO notified in order to ensure the appropriate steps are taken to remove the records from the SFA property management database. Barring an extension, loaned property should be returned at the end of the loan period as laid out in the original terms and conditions of the loan. An excess request must be generated in order for the record retirement to take place.

C. Fellowships

Contact your UPA for guidance regarding disposal of equipment purchased on a fellowship agreement. As terms and conditions of a fellowship agreement can vary, it is important to provide your UPA with a copy of the agreement so appropriate guidance can be provided.

Back to top

3. Refrigerators, Freezers and Other Chilling Devices

Equipment such as freezers, refrigerators, ice makers, some incubators and other similar chilling devices contain gases and oils that are considered hazardous waste, and require special disposal processes. The University uses Peninsula Sanitary Service Inc. (PSSI) for these disposals. SPS generally does not accept refrigerators or freezers. To request the disposal of one of these items will require a Customer Funded Work Request available on the Buildings & Grounds Maintenance (BGM) website to pick up and dispose of the item. An excess request in the SPARC platform, including the work request number for PSSI is also required. PMO will forward approval of the disposal to PSSI for the collection to take place. These collections typically take place on Fridays. Please allow 2 weeks for the request to be completed, depending on the day the request is generated.

Back to top

4. Vehicles

Vehicles require additional processing, and must be delivered to the Fleet Garage for decommissioning and notification to the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  The Fleet Garage will determine whether the vehicle is considered roadworthy and eligible for reassignment to another department or sale. If determined to be unroadworthy, the vehicle is to be scrapped. If transferred, PMO will update the accountable department.  If sold, SPS will contact the last accountable department to obtain proceeds directions (if any). If scrapped, PMO will retire the record.  When your department has deemed a vehicle to be excess, contact your UPA to have the record transferred to a holding code, pending determination of the vehicle's final disposal method.

Back to top

5. Offsite Disposals

There may be situations in which it is necessary to dispose of an item ‘off-site’, whether it is located at a remote site or circumstances make it unfeasible to have the item returned to campus for disposition. Due to the unique circumstances of such an action, these are handled on a case-by-case basis. Please contact your UPA for guidance. It is important that in all cases, every effort be made to ensure the disposition be handled in a means that fully adheres to appropriate environmental guidelines.

Back to top

Go to PM Chapter: