In order to reduce environmental impact and increase efficiency of waste disposal, USC's Facilities Management Services instituted the cardboard recycling program in 1996. USC recycles an average of 10 tons of recycled cardboard waste per week. This program has helped reduce USC’s net impact on landfills and has also created a source of income. While the payment USC receives for its cardboard varies, the average compensation for 1 ton of carboard is $50.
Numerous "Three Yard Bins" are placed around campus near buildings that use large quantities of cardboard. University employees have been trained to break down all cardboard boxes and stack them in the containers. Locations generating the highest volume of cardboard are the University Bookstore and Parkside and EVK Dining Commons.
The containers are then taken to the cardboard recycling compactor behind Parking Structure B. There, a combination of USC ground staff and USC students sort through the cardboard for quality control and compact the cardboard for recycling.
In 2009, more than 210 tons of cardboard from the University Park Campus was recycled. This recycling effort saves over 1,800 feet of space in landfills and almost ,1000 gallons of oil. This program is currently being considered on the HSC campus.