FAQ

Does Columbia Recycle? 

Yes. In recent years, the Columbia community recycled hundreds of tons of mixed paper and cardboard, 155 tons of electronics, 45 tons of lamps, 20 tons of batteries, tens of tons of glass, metal and plastic and much more. You can do your part by checking out what materials are recyclable and how and where to recycle them. For more information please visit http://facilities.columbia.edu/sustainability/recycling

How do I get rid of old electronics? 

The University complies with all local, state and federal regulations regulating the disposal of electronic waste through de-manufacturing, that is by recovering parts that can be reused, thereby keeping as much as possible out of the waste stream.

To remove a piece of electronic equipment, departments must submit a service request through Facilities. The equipment is then brought to a central area from which it's removed by Northeast Lamp Recycling. 

The Morningside Campus recycles approximately four and a half tons of this hazardous or potentially hazardous waste, including lamps and other mercury-containing devices, each year. 

How do I recycle used toner cartridges? 

Below please find some buildings and locations where used toner cartridges may be recycled: 

· Low Library 

· School of International Affairs (SIPA) - 1st floor (basement-garage level) 

To view all Morningside campus buildings and locations where used toner cartridges may be recycled please visit: http://facilities.columbia.edu/recycling-toner-cartridges

· Butler Library - 1st floor receiving entrance 

Does the University compost? 

In Spring 2012, an in-vessel composter suitable for urban use began operating at Ruggles Hall on the Morningside Campus. It has been in use throughout the 2012-2013 academic year, with Dining Services working with EcoReps and residents of GreenBorough to provide 20 gallons of food scraps each day. Four days each week, two EcoReps place scraps and two gallons of wood chips into the composter; two GreenBorough residents take over on the fifth day. In April, one and a half 96-gallon bins of compost from the year’s activity were delivered to the Community Garden on Pupin Plaza. For more information please visit http://dining.columbia.edu/reuse-recycling

Has the University looked into using LED lighting vs. Fluorescents? 

For about 15 years, the University has been replacing incandescent lighting with more efficient, longer-lasting fluorescent bulbs. On the Morningside campus, lighting controls include timers in most academic spaces. These devices prevent lights from being left on overnight and are usually programmed for 10-to-12 hour control settings. Recent technology improvements have made occupancy sensors much more reliable than they have been in the past in determining whether a space is truly vacant and switching off lights accordingly. The University will move to this newer, more-sophisticated type of lighting control on new construction projects. For more information, please visit http://facilities.columbia.edu/sustainability/energyefficiency#energysavinglighting

Why are all the lights on in the middle of the night in the Academic buildings? 

There are a few reasons for this: In order to maintain the buildings clean without disturbing courses, most academic buildings are cleaned overnight. It is possible the lights you see on are in rooms being cleaned. Also, it is possible that students or staff left the lights on once they were done for the night. 

Although some of the lights in the academic buildings are monitored by motion sensors or timers, It’s up to each of us to turn off the lights in the labs, lounges, and class rooms once we are done for the night. 

Who can I contact with questions or for more information? 

Call the Columbia University office of Environmental Stewardship at (212) 854-7046 or e-mail environment@columbia.edu