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-21: Hazardous Waste Management

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 1.00 / 1.00 James Kaznosky
Sr Environmental and Occupational Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have strategies in place to safely dispose of all hazardous, special (e.g. coal ash), universal, and non-regulated chemical waste and seek to minimize the presence of these materials on campus?:

A brief description of steps taken to reduce hazardous, special (e.g. coal ash), universal, and non-regulated chemical waste:

Columbia University has implemented several processes to reduce waste volumes. Columbia University has a robust solvent recycling program for alcohol, xylene, acetone and ethanol at both the Morningside and Medical Center campuses. Electronics, batteries, scrap film are recycled. Mercury containing dental amalgam is filtered from the wastewater at Columbia University maintained faculty practices and clinics through the use of dental amalgam separators with a rate of over 99% efficiency. Silver halide is filtered from wastewater at all Columbia maintained dark rooms through silver recovery traps.

Re-usable sharps collection containers are employed at most locations generating sharp waste. The containers are recycled up to 500 times thus reducing plastic in landfills. Chemically contaminated glassware is crushed prior to disposal as nonhazardous waste thus reducing the total volume.
Additionally, EH&S organizes several working groups to review safety and waste practices including the Chemical Tracking System Committee and the Environmental Management System (EMS) Steering Committee.

A brief description of how the institution safely disposes of hazardous, universal, and non-regulated chemical waste:

Columbia University has a strict no drain disposal policy (see link below) which prohibits the discharge of hazardous, radioactive, mixed and nonhazardous waste down any drain on any campus. Additionally, the University only utilizes vendors that have gone through a rigorous preferred vendor process. This process includes a thorough regulatory compliance paperwork review, documentation archiving and in many cases an onsite audit. The University emphasizes disposal options that reduce our overall impact on the environment such as preferring: recycling, fuel blending or incineration to landfill disposal methods. Numerous training sessions are preformed throughout the year to advise researchers on how to properly manage their resulting waste streams. Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S ) also offers monthly safety classroom training sessions as required for laboratory personnel that includes proper disposal procedures.

The website URL where information about hazardous materials management is available:

Additional information about hazardous materials reduction and recycling is available at:
Battery Recycling:
Electronic Recycling:
Lab Glassware Recycling: http://ehs.columbia.edu/RecycleGlassware.html
Lamp/Light Bulb Recycling:
Mercury Recycling:
Sharps Recycling:
Silver Recovery: http://ehs.columbia.edu
Solvent Recycling:
Radioactive Waste Management:
Hazardous Waste management by Campus: http://www.ehs.columbia.edu/5LAll.html
Drain Disposal Policy:
EH&S Safety Committee:
EH&S Safety Training Options:

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.