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Waste Management

Safety & Environment

Waste Management

Solid Waste

Consolidated Edison Company of New York, Inc. (CECONY) and Orange & Rockland Utilities, Inc. (O&R) continue to minimize waste by emphasizing an end-of-life mindset during job planning that considers minimizing future waste streams during each phase of work, including project and process design, purchasing, and waste disposal. This is an integral part of our process to meet waste reduction goals.

The solid waste recycling programs at CECONY and O&R are supported by corporate policies aimed at reducing the non-hazardous waste we produce. The vast majority of our solid waste streams are recycled or auctioned, including retired fleet vehicles, forklifts, tool carts, old cables, streetlights, reflectors, meters, and paper products. CECONY requires source separation of a variety of waste streams, including cable, paper, wood, plastic and certain metals.

Last year, to further enhance our solid waste management program, we introduced a new waste characterization process to help prevent over- and under-characterization of hazardous waste. The new process is now codified in a corporate procedure. Employees must complete a “checklist” that demonstrates the reasoning (such as a lab test) for the classification of any collected waste. This process will help categorize all waste correctly and will likely reduce the amount of waste sent to hazardous waste disposal facilities due to mischaracterization.

Hazardous Waste

In any given year, emergency work impacts the volume of hazardous waste we encounter at Con Edison, making it difficult to set annual hazardous waste reduction goals. Lead largely from urban runoff can be found in the manholes and transformer vaults associated with our underground electric system. Over the past 24 years, we’ve drastically reduced the volume of hazardous waste generated through our lead waste stabilization process. In 1998, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) approved CECONY’s request to develop a process that stabilizes lead waste that would otherwise be considered hazardous and renders it non-hazardous. The process was first implemented in the early 2000s and we confirm the efficacy of our lead waste stabilization through sampling before disposing of it. In 2021, our processes reduced our hazardous waste stream by more than 31,000 tons.

Radioactive Waste

At Con Edison, we recognize that the management and disposal of radioactive waste is an important issue. While we do not generate radioactive waste, we do have procedures in place that provide guidelines for its management and disposal so that we are prepared should we encounter this type of waste. We maintain a Radiation Safety Officer as well as Radioactive Waste Material subject matter expert on staff to address management and disposal matters.

Emerging Waste Streams

Con Edison is working with regulators and industry leaders to plan for emerging waste streams associated with renewable technologies such as solar panels, electric vehicle batteries, and wind turbines.

Waste Management O&R cleaned up coal tar residue at a former manufactured gas plant in Nyack.
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