Recycling at Columbia

Columbia follows the recycling rules of the New York City Department of Sanitation. Trash and recyclables (paper and metal/plastic) are separated into three waste streams. Lab spaces should have all the bins they require, but this is not always the case. Many labs have a surplus of trash garbage bins and none of the others. Bins are often mislabeled. CLEEN is currently working on obtaining a stack of proper labels for recycling bins, however, there are things you can do too.

Steps to take:

  • Only material in clear bags gets recycled. Any bin can be re-purposed for recycling by taking clear bags from other bins–the staff will continue to put clear bags into this bin after that first one.
  • Peel labels off bins that you do not want for recycling and stick them onto the ones you want, or create a sign yourself. This one contains a lot of information and can be printed out and posted above the bins.
  • Bin lids are not required, though they are nice for reminding people not to mix waste streams. Familiarize yourself with the recycling rules. Periodically remind labmates about where things belong.


Here are some items that only labs generate. Metal in particular is cheap to recycle, so do not forget those cans Aldrich uses for butyllithium, bromine, tetrachloroethane, etc.
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