Waste Diversion

Peer educators set up tailgate waste diversion stations during a USC tailgate.

USC Initiatives

Campus-wide Waste Diversion

Our current campus waste diversion efforts (recycling, food composting, cardboard recycling, etc.), combine to produce an approximately 52% diversion rate.  The 2020 Plan goal is to achieve 75% waste diversion rate.


Hazardous Waste Pickup Requests is processed and tracked through the EH&S Assistant (ESHA) web application.  Requests also can be made at  https://ehs.usc.edu/hazmat/pickup

The Environmental Health & Safety Department provides a utility for the USC community to track and manage hazardous waste streams in accordance with various state regulations (Title 22, CCR 66262.34, 66262.34(e), 66265.171-172, 66265.173(a)). Researchers can request waste supplies, log waste accumulation, print out labels, and request waste pickups online while referencing their chemical inventory. Please visit this page for more information and to access the SOP for waste pick-up.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact ehs@usc.edu or call (323) 442-2200.

Zero Waste (ZW) Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum adopted a goal of zero waste in the fall of 2015, moving all waste to compostable or recyclable items. In the first season, the program increased the diversion rate by 65%. The program expects to consistently achieve a 90% diversion rate  – the industry standard for “zero waste” – for both USC and Los Angeles Rams games in the 2017 season. Student Volunteers also engage fans on recycling and composting at home. For more information, or to participate, please contact us at sustainability@usc.edu.

Football Tailgate Waste Diversion Program

USC Sustainability and Facilities Management Services partner to reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill on campus during football tailgates. Student facilitators educate tailgaters on how to sort their waste and divert recyclable and compostable materials from the waste stream. This program reaches estimated 40,000-65,000 fans per tailgate. E-Waste Collection

Recycling – USC Housing + Hospitality

USC Housing recycles in all of its buildings.

USC Hospitality separates food waste at its Restaurants and Residential and Central Kitchens, and kitchen grease is collected and recycled throughout all venues. They also separate their recyclables in all of their venues, including: cardboard, clean plastics, cartons, frozen boxes, non-foil paper, milk bags in the box cartons, and bottles and kegs.  The following are the percentage breakdowns by category:

  1. Organic Food Waste 45%
  2. Plastics (HDPE and PET) 25%
  3. Glass Bottles (Mix Glass) 5%
  4. Aluminum and tin cans 5%
  5. Other 10%

Additionally, USC Hospitality and Facilities Services have partnered to divert kitchen waste by implementing back of house kitchen composting of food scraps at retail and residential dining locations. EVK is currently online while other locations are in process.

Finally, USC Hospitality does not utilize trays in its residential dining program, reducing food waste by discouraging taking more food than students can eat in a sitting.

Cardboard Recycling

FMS collects, sorts and recycles cardboard from all buildings on both campuses.

Used Furniture Recycling

USC Housing recycles all of its old, broken and outdated furniture with IRN. Housing also gives its used/old carpet to a recycling vendor.

Styrofoam Recycling

At the Health Science campus there is a large quantity of Styrofoam that is generated from the delivery of medical supplies. FMS runs a Styrofoam recycling program, running Styrofoam through a densifier to minimize storage and provide a higher value commodity.

HIPAA Shredding

All HIPAA documents are shredded and recycled on both campuses.