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-T2-41: Chemical Reuse Inventory

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.25 / 0.25 James Kaznosky
Sr Environmental and Occupational Safety Specialist
Environmental Health & Safety
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution implemented a campus-wide inventory system to facilitate the reuse of laboratory chemicals?:

A brief description of the program:

Environmental Health & Safety at Columbia University implemented the chemical tracking system (CTS) on the Morningside Campus in 2006. This system allows Columbia to maintain compliance with federal, state and city environmental regulations and hazardous waste minimization. It has been largely achieved through efficient and appropriate use of the system.
Columbia University has selected the ChemTracker Consortium as the CTS tool. Chemical tracking is managed at the point of receipt of chemicals to the campus. Chemical receiving is centralized at two locations. Chemical shipments from vendors are bar-coded by dedicated personnel in these two locations. Bar-coded chemicals are delivered to laboratories or the chemicals are picked up by lab staff. One requirement of the system is that empty chemical bottles are needed to be discarded in designated waste receptacles so that bar code information can be retrieved and inventories adjusted accordingly. ChemTracker allows researchers to monitor their own chemical inventories on-line and reduce redundant purchases.
Principal Investigators are permitted to view their own departmental inventories trough the CTS. They can check peer’s inventories when they need to transfer chemicals to their lab which minimizes ordering excessive chemicals.
EH&S may receive emails from researchers, search the system, and send information back to researchers to contact and borrow the chemicals. It has been very successful and researchers use this function to full capacity and are able to reduce excessive chemical inventories. Further, this allows the reduction of chemical purchases and inventories.
EH&S requests that laboratories send unused chemicals to the EH&S surplus lab. This list is forwarded to researchers, allowing them to pickup surplus chemicals on a first come, first serve basis. The program is successful enough in that the surplus laboratory is virtually empty at the end of each work day.

In 2001, an on-site recycling program was initiated for spent xylene and ethanol used in laboratories allowing the chemicals to be returned for use over and over again. Over the years acetone and methanol have been added to the program for recycling. After many years and many thousands of gallons, the program is running strong and maintaining green benefits, both environmental and financial.

Additional information on Solvent Recycling:

The website URL where information about the practice is available:

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.