Overall Rating Silver
Overall Score 57.87
Liaison Julie Hopper
Submission Date July 29, 2021

STARS v2.2

University of Southern California
OP-18: Waste Minimization and Diversion

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 0.88 / 8.00 Elias Platte-Bermeo
Sustainability Program Assistant
Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Figures needed to determine total waste generated (and diverted):
Performance Year Baseline Year
Materials recycled 5,389.15 Tons 5,389.15 Tons
Materials composted 778.15 Tons 778.15 Tons
Materials donated or re-sold 44.30 Tons 44.30 Tons
Materials disposed through post-recycling residual conversion 0 Tons 0 Tons
Materials disposed in a solid waste landfill or incinerator 14,941.21 Tons 14,941.21 Tons
Total waste generated 21,152.81 Tons 21,152.81 Tons

A brief description of the residual conversion facility:

Start and end dates of the performance year and baseline year (or three-year periods):
Start Date End Date
Performance Period Aug. 1, 2018 July 31, 2019
Baseline Period Aug. 1, 2018 July 31, 2019

A brief description of when and why the waste generation baseline was adopted:

USC is using the same performance period and baseline period for this credit because of changes in the way that USC's waste is handled and tracked, which have meant that precise and comparable data on waste generation prior to 2018 does not exist.

The performance period for this credit is slightly different than in other credits because accurate waste data was not available until August 2018 (as opposed to July 2018, which is the start of the performance period for other OP credits).

Figures needed to determine "Weighted Campus Users”:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Number of students resident on-site 9,150 9,150
Number of employees resident on-site 50 50
Number of other individuals resident on-site 98 98
Total full-time equivalent student enrollment 43,674 43,674
Full-time equivalent of employees 14,912 14,912
Full-time equivalent of students enrolled exclusively in distance education 6,707 6,707
Weighted campus users 41,307.25 41,307.25

Total waste generated per weighted campus user:
Performance Year Baseline Year
Total waste generated per weighted campus user 0.51 Tons 0.51 Tons

Percentage reduction in total waste generated per weighted campus user from baseline:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator by recycling, composting, donating or re-selling, performance year:

Percentage of materials diverted from the landfill or incinerator (including up to 10 percent attributable to post-recycling residual conversion):

In the waste figures reported above, has the institution recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold the following materials?:
Yes or No
Paper, plastics, glass, metals, and other recyclable containers Yes
Food Yes
Cooking oil Yes
Plant materials No
Animal bedding No
White goods (i.e. appliances) Yes
Electronics Yes
Laboratory equipment Yes
Furniture Yes
Residence hall move-in/move-out waste Yes
Scrap metal Yes
Pallets Yes
Tires Yes
Other (please specify below) No

A brief description of other materials the institution has recycled, composted, donated and/or re-sold:

Electronics such as audio and video equipment, athletic equipment, ink/toner cartridges

Materials intended for disposal but subsequently recovered and reused on campus, performance year:

Does the institution use single stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use dual stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Does the institution use multi-stream recycling to collect standard recyclables in common areas?:

Average contamination rate for the institution’s recycling program:

A brief description of any recycling quality control mechanisms employed:

USC's waste diversion teams conduct regular waste audits on campus, and work with USC's waste hauler and a consultant to conduct waste characterizations annually.

A brief description of the institution's waste-related behavior change initiatives:

USC Office of Sustainability, waste diversion, procurement, athletics, and events teams work together to integrate Zero Waste principles and practices into many campus events and sports venues.

A brief description of the institution's waste audits and other initiatives to assess its materials management efforts and identify areas for improvement:

Through waste audits, USC improved the efficiency of managing campus waste by taking the data collected to drive decisions that have generated positive returns in waste management campus-wide. The data collected revealed opportunities to right-size bins and adjust number of weekly hauler collections specific based on volumes generated. USC worked with waste consultants to complete thorough waste characterizations to analyze the waste streams generated by campus food and retail establishments and used that data to provide direction in sustainable purchasing practices.

A brief description of the institution's procurement policies designed to prevent waste:

A brief description of the institution's surplus department or formal office supplies exchange program that facilitates reuse of materials:

USC Surplus ensures different types of items are managed sustainably through second-hand use. https://procurement.usc.edu/mailing/material-management/surplus-sales/

A brief description of the institution's platforms to encourage peer-to-peer exchange and reuse:

The Trojan Food Pantry is a peer-to-peer resource reuse platform that provides USC staff and students a way to donate fresh food, non-perishable items, toiletries, and academic supplies to USC students. The Trojan Food Pantry addresses food insecurity on campus and provides much needed temporary relief to those experiencing food emergencies. The day-to-day operations are led by the Student Basic Needs staff and student volunteers under the consultation and guidance of the St. Francis Center.

A brief description of the institution's limits on paper and ink consumption:

The schools and departments that do offer free printing to their students only offer a limited number of pages per month.

A brief description of the institution's initiatives to make materials available online by default rather than printing them:

USC lists all course catalogs, course schedules, and directories for students and faculty online.

A brief description of the institution's program to reduce residence hall move-in/move-out waste:

For student move-in, USC Housing sends a listing of basic necessities as part of the move-in paperwork to assist students with setting up their new campus home. USC housing has partnered with USC Bookstore to offer Bed, Bath and Beyond products to be either ordered prior to arrival or purchased once arrival to campus of those necessities. This minimizes not only the amount of products being shipped or brought to campus, but also over shipping of everything in the students current bedroom at their permanent residences. Cardboard from move-in is collected and placed for pick up by USC FPM.
For move-out, USC Housing partners with Goodwill on the pickup of clothing, furniture and electronic donations; and the Food Pantry for the pickup of food donations. The partnership with both lasts 9 nine days leading up to commencement where students place their giveaways into bins located in the customer service lobbies of various residential halls, in which both Goodwill and Food Pantry comes daily (sometimes twice depending on need) to each location to collect contents of the bins. Upon completion of move out week, a weight tally is done by Goodwill and sent over. Cardboard from move out is collected the same way as move in.

A brief description of the institution's programs or initiatives to recover and reuse other materials intended for disposal:

Planning and development of a cross-departmental waste tracking portal designed to allow materials intended for disposal to be tracked from the source and allow for more effective diversion.

Website URL where information about the institution’s waste minimization and diversion efforts is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:

Data on total waste generated (and diverted) for this credit has a slightly different scope than other STARS OP credits. This credit does not include waste generated (or diverted) from USC's Catalina Island Campus because this campus has an entirely separate system for handling waste, and data was not available.

The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution or simply email your inquiry to stars@aashe.org.