Overall Rating Gold - expired
Overall Score 74.18
Liaison Allie Schwartz
Submission Date Nov. 30, 2012
Executive Letter Download

STARS v1.1

Columbia University
OP-18: Waste Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.05 / 3.00 Cathy Resler
Office of Environmental Stewardship
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Materials recycled, composted, reused, donated, re-sold, or otherwise diverted :
3,317.08 Tons

Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator :
6,143.70 Tons

A brief description of programs, policies, infrastructure investments, outreach efforts, and/or other factors that contributed to the diversion rate:

Paper Recycling
● All newspapers, magazines, catalogs
● white and colored paper (lined, copier, computer, staples OK)
● mail and envelopes (any color, window envelopes OK)
● paper bags
● wrapping paper
● soft-cover books, telephone books (paperbacks, comics, etc.; no spiral bindings)
● cardboard egg cartons and trays
● smooth cardboard (food and shoes boxes, tubes, file folders, cardboard from product packaging)
● corrugated cardboard boxes

Metal, Glass, and Plastic Recycling
● milk cartons & juice boxes (or any such cartons and aseptic packaging for drinks: ice tea, soy milk, soup, etc.)
● plastic with narrow necks only (neck has to be smaller than the body) only
● glass bottles & jars only
● metal cans (soup, pet food, empty aerosol cans, dried-out paint cans, etc.)
● aluminum foil wrap & trays
● household metal (wire hangers, pots, tools, curtain rods, knives, small appliances that are mostly metal, certain
vehicle license plates, etc.)
● bulk metal (large metal items, such as furniture, cabinets, large appliances, etc.)

● grass and vegetative clippings, leaves, and woody debris
● fruit and vegetable scraps and pits
● non-greasy food scraps (rice, pasta, bread, cereal etc.)
● coffee grounds & filters
● tea bags
● egg and nut shells
● cut or dried flowers, houseplants and potting soil.

Other Recyclables:
● textiles
● mercury
● sharps
● solvents
● silver
● polystyrene/styrofoam shipper boxes: http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/StyroformBoxes.html

Surplus Reuse or Donation
● Desk Chairs
● Stackable Chairs
● Side Chairs
● Lobby Chairs
● Folding Chairs
● Dentist Chairs
● Side/End Tables
● Conference Tables
● Commercial Kitchen Tables
● Lab Tables
● Office Tables
● Computer Tables
● Working Computers less than three years old
● Computer peripherals
● Monitors
● Blank recordable CDs
● Working Hand-held computer devices (i.e. Garmin, PDA, etc.)
● Working Printers
● Working Cell Phones
● Unused Full Printer Cartridges
● File Cabinets
● 2 drawer cabinets
● Wood cabinets
● Sideboards
● Computer cabinets
● Book cases
● Wooden shelving
● Metal shelving
● Brackets and shelf boards (must have all the pieces)
● Display cases with shelves
● Working kitchen appliances
● Working household appliances
● Office Supplies
● Books
● Mystery Items
● Kitchen pots & pans
● Restaurant china
● Restaurant equipment

Waste prevention and recycling are important initiatives because they can help mitigate climate change. Landfills release greenhouse gases over time, and any form of source reduction or waste diversion mitigates the magnitude of greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling is a particularly effective method of waste disposal because material reprocessing requires less energy use than original processing.

Collection Methods
The New York City Department of Sanitation (DOS) picks up the majority of Columbia’s waste and recycling through a collection system on the Morningside Campus. All buildings within the Morningside Campus enclosure bring waste, plastic, glass, metal, paper, and some cardboard to a centralized location where the DOS picks it up for free. The City does not measure the amount that they pick up, so Columbia University only has records of private collection for waste and recycling on campus.

In 2009, the University changed the way in which ‘sharps’ waste was collected, replacing single-use containers with re-usable containers. When full, these containers are robotically emptied, sanitized and reused. A single container may be used as many as 500 times.

In fiscal year 2011, about 18,945 lbs of glassware, over 185,000 lbs of electronics, 11,000 lbs of batteries, 900 gallons of solvents, and 27,000 lbs of light bulbs/lamps were recycled. Surplus Reuse when possible is used on campus or given to schools or local non-profit organizations with priority to organizations affiliated with Columbia Community Service. Whatever remains unclaimed goes to the Build It Green, NYC Waste Match program, which includes non-profits in the other four boroughs. Columbia also partners with the Institutional Recycling Network (IRN) where changed out dorm furniture and used equipment – like kitchen equipment is given. In the past equipment has gone to several countries in the Caribbean and to disaster relief in Haiti. More information is on the housing, dining and environment.columbia.edu website.

Additionally, the Work/Life bulletin board, similar to an internal Craigslist, allows Columbia staff, faculty, and students to post personal household and office items to buy, sell, swap or reuse. http://worklife.columbia.edu/forum

The undergraduate EcoRep program partners with Facilities and Housing for Give and Go Green and Facilities hosts Clean and Go Green.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.