Jump to Navigation ▼

Disposal Procedures

 Equipment Disposal Procedures

Purpose: To establish a recommended uniform procedure for disposing of assets that are no longer serviceable or needed by your school or department and recover as much of its market value as possible. Also to inform the NU community of various issues that need to be addressed when disposing university assets. Note: see special arrangements for computers and peripherals at the end of this page.

Scope: This procedure applies to the disposition of assets common to all departments and schools such as computers, office equipment and furniture.

General: All purchased and acquired assets have a useful life and value. When the asset’s usefulness warrants disposal from a department or school, the asset may have value to other departments or schools, or individuals within the NU community. Once approval for disposal of assets is obtained from your dean, chairperson, director or department administrator, the recommended uniform procedure shall be as follows:

NEW: see also Equipment Retirement Approval Form

Surplus Property Exchange Program of Purchasing Resource Services: The purpose of this web site is to provide a common forum for the exchange of NU surplus property. Assets shall be offered to other departments and schools on the established Purchasing Resource Services Surplus Property Exchange Program for a recommended minimum of 30 days. Any department or school that has an interest in the asset may directly contact the offering department or school who will provide a more detailed description, location and availability. At that time, interested parties can place a bid or negotiate a sales price. If the asset is not sold during the recommended 30 days, interested faculty, staff or students may bid on the asset for personal use during a recommended 15-day period. Any proceeds shall be credited to the offering department or school. On how to handle the transaction refer to the Equipment Control Policy and Procedures Manual, Section III.D.3. If the asset is sold to anyone other than a NU department or school, obtain a signed Bill of Sale from the buyer. See Disposal Issues section for other steps you need to take to complete the transaction.

If after the recommended 45 days that the item is listed on the Surplus Property Exchange web page, the asset hasn’t been sold, consider contacting a local charity that accepts equipment donations. If the asset is donated to anyone other than a NU department or school, obtain a signed Indemnification Agreement for Donated Property. See Disposal Issues section for other steps you need to take to complete the transaction.

Northwestern University Recycling: If you are unable to locate a buyer/taker for your item through the Surplus Exchange web site, contact NU Recycling prior to discarding the property. NU Recycling may assist in identifying a better means for disposing of the asset or a charity group to take the item as a donation.

Disposal Issues: Assets of some departments or schools may not be appropriate for this procedure. Assets such as library books, medical equipment and medical supplies shall be disposed of in a uniform and consistent procedure at the direction of the appropriate administration. If the original asset value exceeds $5,000 or was tagged with a NU property identifier, properly notify the Equipment Inventory Coordinator in the Accounting Services Department.

Notify the university’s Equipment Inventory Coordinator in Accounting Services for any disposals of capital equipment by filling out an Equipment Disposal Form. Capital equipment has a minimum cost of $5,000 and a useful life of one year or more. The information from this form will be used to update the University’s inventory database. You should obtain, and keep on file, written approval from your dean, chairperson, director or department administrator to remove capital equipment, however you do not need the approval of the Equipment Inventory Coordinator. Also remember to record disposals of assets with an original value of $500 to $5,000 in your non-capital equipment inventory records.

Before removing computers and peripherals from university property, you must follow special procedures to remove all data files and proprietary programs. University licensed software may not be sold or donated. See IT policy on Disposal of Northwestern Computers and see information on the Computer & Peripherals Recycling Program.

For equipment acquired using federal funds, you must get the approval of Accounting Services for Research & Sponsored Programs (ASRSP) for disposal.

Contact the Office of Research Safety for proper disposal methods for any chemicals or hazardous waste.

Finally, moving the asset is your responsibility, but if you need the asset moved on the Chicago campus from one building to another because you sold or donated it to another department, you can arrange for the move through Support Services at 3-8129. All other moves can be arranged through facilities management at 1-5201.