CU Boulder Efforts to Minimize Hazardous and Laboratory Waste by EH&S and Through Partnership With the CU Green Labs Program

Mark Lapham, University of Colorado Boulder
Kathryn Ramirez-Aguilar, University of Colorado Boulder

While barriers exist that can hinder efforts to reduce hazardous and laboratory waste streams, CU Boulder has, in many cases, been able to find ways to implement successful efforts and make investments of benefit to lab waste minimization. Not all efforts have been successful and some efforts have required trial and error to reach success, but through dedication, teamwork, and a knowledge of campus and the resources available, we have been able to successfully implement a range of efforts to reduce waste. This presentation will include insight into the hazardous waste operations of CU Boulder EH&S, efforts for efficiency and minimization in the processing of waste, and collaborative efforts to compost and recycle laboratory solid waste streams and re-use solvents. We will share the partnership that has been established between EH&S and CU Green Labs, give examples of how we work together, and the benefits that the partnership brings to both EH&S and CU Green Labs.

Learning Objectives

  • Learn about the hazardous waste operations of CU Boulder EH&S and its efforts for efficiency;
  • Learn about the significant achievements that the collaboration between CU Boulder EH&S and Green Labs have made to compost and recycle laboratory solid waste streams and re-use solvents;
  • Understand the challenges faced when attempting to minimize laboratory waste; and
  • Discover ideas for reducing laboratory wastes which may be successful at other institutions.


Mark Lapham is an environmental health and safety professional with 22 years of experience in the industry. He is a Certified Hazardous Materials Manager (CHMM) and currently serves as the Associate Director of EH&S Department at CU Boulder. In this role, he focuses on environmental compliance, industrial hygiene, and hazardous materials and waste program areas for the campus. He believes safety and sustainability can coexist within laboratories and often provide synergistic effects.

Kathy Ramirez-Aguilar has a doctorate in Analytical Chemistry and 15 years of laboratory research experience. She manages the Green Labs Program at CU Boulder which utilizes a campus-wide, team approach to conservation in labs and involves partnership with scientists and many other campus units with connections to lab research. She is also dedicated to the Bringing Efficiency to Research (BETR) Grants effort aimed at connecting efficient resource use with research funding from sponsors.


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