Waste Diversion

Gail Uyeda composting at the Associate’s Picnic tailgate.

Globally, it is estimated that a 1% increase in recycling rates could provide an annual net savings equivalent to 200,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide. Accordingly, even small adjustments in the processing of campus-generated trash could have big impacts in terms of USC’s carbon footprint. Such an undertaking will also yield major financial incentives. Since 2001, the average landfill rate has risen from $34 per ton to nearly $54 per ton. A decrease in the amount of waste generated will help offset this steep rise in cost. Additionally, active recycling by students educates them on current sustainability issues and produces a more responsible generation of global citizens. Currently, USC’s waste diversion rate over the past few years has been around 52%.

Goal 1: Achieve 75% waste diversion levels by 2020.

  • Develop a University-wide, comprehensive integrated waste
    management plan by 2016
  • Review metrics and standards for waste audits
  • Evaluate waste management companies

Goal 2: Increase education of waste reduction and recycling and expand diversion and recycling programs.

  • Create educational campaigns about waste reduction and recycling that resonate with specific campus stakeholders (i.e., faculty, students, staff, visitors)
  • Improve the recycling program by increasing and standardizing waste disposal bins with a pilot program in USC Housing
  • Develop a campus-wide composting program
  • Increase education about methods to reduce waste (e.g. bottle-filling stations, etc.)
  • Apply the recycling policy to demolition and construction programs and implement waste diversion policies in new construction