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Hazardous Waste Management

Columbia University is committed to protecting human health and the environment through a proactive Hazardous Waste Management Program.  This commitment is realized through EH&S’s collaborations with the University’s schools, departments, laboratory research community and Facilities Management.  Through these partnerships EH&S is able to help the University maintain compliance with all applicable regulations, promote Best Management Practices and waste minimization programs and provide technical guidance and timely service to the University community.   

Proper management of Hazardous Waste is essential to our program’s success.  EH&S recognizes that the Hazardous Waste Management regulations for determining which wastes are characteristic for ignitability, corrosivity, reactivity, or toxicity, which are specifically listed on one of four hazardous wastes lists (F-list, K-list, P-list, U-list), which are mixed wastes, and subsequently the appropriate container management requirements for each can be extremely complex to navigate, interpret and apply to each individual situation.  To assist University personnel in understanding these requirements, EH&S provides monthly training, as well as department specific training available upon request,  and has prepared and distributed the 5 Ls of Hazardous Waste Management.  Our training programs, coupled with the 5Ls of Hazardous Waste Management and the University’s No Drain Disposal Policy provide the essentials that anyone using chemicals at the University would need to know to properly manage their Hazardous Waste and thus contribute to our goal of environmental protection. 

Going beyond compliance and focusing on Best Management Practices and waste minimization programs has been a tradition in EH&S.  We have partnered with several departments over the years to implement a variety of green initiatives and recycling programs, which have reduced the volume of chemical/hazardous waste the University sends off site for disposal.  Programs like solvent recycling, laboratory glassware recycling, mercury exchange, reusable sharps containers, or electronics recycling continue to be a primary focus of EH&S in our continued pursuit of being stewards of the environment.