Sustainability Update January 19, 2010

January 19, 2010

Dear CUMC Community:

Several initiatives are under way related to energy management, energy conservation and recycling at CUMC. All of these initiatives are important to our commitment to environmental sustainability, although some are more visible than others. This message is the first in an on-going series of e-mail communiqués from Facilities Management that are intended to share information about these initiatives and provide you with an opportunity to offer your suggestions and assistance in advancing our efforts at the medical center.

In This Issue: Recycling

Recycling is a fundamental component of our sustainability program, one in which all members of the CUMC community can participate. Not only do we follow city regulations requiring recycling centers for all of our residential buildings, but we also have taken the extra step to establish them in all non-residential buildings, as well.


More than 45 recycling receptacles are available for battery disposal. The receptacles are located in building corridors near elevators, at the transverse from the College of Physicians and Surgeons Building to the Black Building, and at the Facilities and Public Safety offices in Black. Visit the Environmental Health & Safety website for details on battery recycling.

Cell Phones

Cell phones, their batteries and chargers may be deposited in a designated box at the Public Safety office. CUMC works with the Verizon Wireless HopeLine Program through which the cellular equipment is given to victims of domestic violence.


Departments can request that used computer equipment be picked up by Facilities. To submit a request, visit our website and click "Work Order" in the lower left-hand corner. The equipment is then either recycled or repurposed through an innovative program with the Mailman School of Public Health that donates usable equipment to nonprofit groups. For privacy protection, computer disposal protocol requires data sanitization of the hard drive be completed by the department prior to pick-up. DBAN, an approved computer software program for doing this, is available through CUIT.

Toner Cartridges

Toner cartridge recycling bins are located near the elevator alcoves in all research buildings. For pickup of large numbers of cartridges, please complete an online service request by visiting our website and clicking "Work Order" in the lower left-hand corner.

What Else Do We Recycle?

Consumer Products: Paper, cardboard, metal, glass and plastic can be deposited in recycling bins located throughout CUMC.

Clothing: Clothing may be deposited in bins at 60 Haven Ave. (Tower 1) and at 100 Haven Ave. (Tower 3). At the end of the spring semester, Give & Go Green, a program sponsored by the CUMC EcoReps, collects items that might otherwise be discarded.

Lamps: Fluorescent, incandescent, high-intensity and sodium vapor lamps can be collected for recycling by Facilities; please complete an online work order via our website. Used light bulbs can be recycled via disposal bins in lobby and basement areas.

Mercury and Other Metals: Since 2002, CUMC Environmental Health & Safety has been working to remove mercury devices and other hazardous metals from research, instructional and clinical applications. In a partnership with the P&S Office of Curricular Affairs, the College of Dental Medicine and the Department of Anesthesiology, several programs are in place to reduce and recycle mercury, lead and silver.

Sharps Containers: Sharps containers that can be used as many as 500 times are now in use in the Hammer Health Sciences Center. A plan to put these containers into place across the entire medical center is expected to be completed by the end of next summer. Eventually, these new containers will replace the approximately 4,500 single-use containers used at CUMC each year.

Styrofoam Shipping Boxes: Polystyrene/Styrofoam shipping boxes are being recycled in a collaborative effort between Facilities and Environmental Health & Safety. Boxes need to be clean and empty, with the supplier's return label attached, and then dropped off at receiving departments/loading docks at the Hammer Health Sciences, Black/P&S, or Russ Berrie Buildings. Facilities will arrange for the boxes to be returned to their senders for reuse.

What Can I Do to Help?

Know your recyclables! As more people recognize the importance of recycling and join the effort, it is imperative that everyone be mindful of where they put their trash. The wrong item in a recycling container can contaminate the whole bin, making it necessary to throw it all in the trash instead of recycling. For a list of what to recycle in New York City, please visit Columbia's Environmental Stewardship website.

We welcome your feedback and participation in our recycling programs and other energy initiatives. If you have suggestions or ideas, please feel free to contact our Energy Management and Sustainability Department at

Stay tuned for upcoming energy updates from Facilities Management.


Amador Centeno

Vice President of Facilities

Columbia University Medical Center


Energy & Sustainability