Universal Waste Management

Hands holding planet earth.

Columbia University’s Universal Waste Management Program is focused on safeguarding the environment and following state regulations for the proper management and recycling of universal waste.  It is our goal to provide technical support and expert service to the campus community and explore new recycling technologies and opportunities to protect the environment.

What is universal waste?  Universal wastes are common, everyday items with a hazardous component. Universal wastes include items such as: batteries, mercury-containing devices, certain pesticides and lamps.   Although electronics and ballasts are not considered a universal waste they are managed the same as the above listed items.  Universal wastes are generated not only in the industrial settings, but also in a wide variety of other settings, including households, schools, office buildings, and medical facilities. Although handlers of universal wastes must meet less stringent standards for storing, transporting, and collecting wastes, the wastes must comply with full hazardous waste requirements for final recycling, treatment, or disposal. This approach helps to remove these wastes from municipal landfills and incinerators, providing stronger safeguards for public health and the environment.