Waste Management - Environmental Health and Safety Office Skip Navigation

Hazardous and Universal Waste Management

Hazardous waste is waste that has certain hazardous characteristics, or waste that appears as a listed waste in federal regulations.  Universal waste can be defined as common items containing hazardous components that are subject to streamlined requirements for collection, storage, and processing. 

All wastes generated at the university that are regulated as hazardous waste must be disposed of through Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Colgate University's policy on laboratory-generated waste states that unless EHS has been consulted regarding disposal, all wastes will be collected and handled as if they are hazardous.

Waste Management and Disposal Guide

The Waste Management and Disposal Guide is designed to assist the students, staff, and faculty of Colgate University in the safe and economical management of lab waste, including hazardous chemical waste, radioactive waste, and biological waste. Hazardous materials generated in laboratories, art studios, workshops, and other locations on campus are collected, labeled, and stored according to specific procedures detailed in this manual.

Batteries and eWaste

Batteries contain hazardous components and are considered universal waste. For this reason, batteries and electronic waste (eWaste, e.g. iPods, computers, and cables) must not be disposed of in the regular trash. The Sustainability and EHS Offices facilitate the battery collection program for the university.  Battery and eWaste collection areas have been set up around campus (map). Any batteries put into the collection containers must have both terminals covered with non-conductive tape. Further instructions can be found on the label of each collection bin. Contact Sustainability (x6360) or EHS (x7994) for waste battery pickup if the containers are full. 
Collect Only These Batteries in Battery Collection Containers: 
Alkaline and Non-alkaline household type batteries (AA, AAA, C, D, 9 volt) 
Rechargeable batteries such as nickel-cadmium type 
"Button" batteries found in watches, calculators, pagers, cameras 

DO NOT Place the Following in Battery Collection Containers: 
Batteries containing liquids, such as car batteries 
Large batteries such as power packs and computer batteries 
Other batteries not listed above

Fluorescent Lamps and Bulbs 

In academic buildings, most used fluorescent lamps are classified as universal waste. The inside of a fluorescent tube is coated with chemicals and the tube contains a small amount of mercury vapor. Fluorescent lamps cannot be placed in the regular trash. Lamps must be disposed of by contacting the Physical Plant (x7131) for lamp replacement or disposal of used fluorescent lamps

Mercury-Containing Equipment 

To reduce the amount of mercury on campus, thermostats and other equipment containing 
mercury must be replaced with electronic devices or equipment that uses non-hazardous fluids. When applicable, waste mercury containing equipment can be placed in the Satellite Accumulation Area (SAA) for collection. Contact EHS to schedule a pick-up if there is no SAA in the location where the mercury containing equipment is no longer needed. After collection, EHS will determine whether or not the equipment should be designated as universal or hazardous waste.