USF students enjoying sunshine on the grass

Recycling Overview

The USF Recycles program collects commingled recyclables including all grades of paper, cans, glass, cardboard, and all rigid plastics. Program highlights include:

  • Desk Side Recycling in all Offices
  • Recycling in all Residence Halls and Common Building Areas (over 200 locations)
  • Composting in all Dining Services Locations
  • Composting in all Residence Halls
  • Composting in select Non-Residence Hall buildings
  • Landscape Greenwaste Composting 

Three offices within Facilities Management coordinate solid waste management at the University of San Francisco. The Environmental Safety Office manages the education and outreach component of USF Recycles. Desk side recycling (which provides trash and recycling collection at most campus desks) is accomplished through the use of our custodial staff and managed through the Custodial Office, and residence hall recycling as well as campus-wide trash collection from external receptacles (from 32-gallon cans through 3-yd dumpsters) is staffed by a full-time crew managed through the Office of Waste Management.

Recycling efforts at the University of San Francisco have a long history. Prior to 1988, a grassroots movement of undergraduate students began placing receptacles in strategic locations around campus to collect recyclable materials. Eventually this group of students gave rise to USF Recycles. On the campus there are now over 200 common area locations within buildings with recycling service. In 2007 we added landscaping and food service composting in our main cafeteria and more recently have expanded this to include all residence halls and certain non-residence buildings. Recently, USF Recycles transitioned to full-time staff to handle the demands of an increasing volume and demand for the collection of recycling and compost.

In 2013 USF collected 495 tons of recyclables, 415 tons of compostables, and sent 410 tons of trash to the landfill. In this year the average campus diversion rate was 70%. This means that of all the solid waste generated (recycling, compost, and trash combined) we diverted 70% of it to a reusable option (not buried in a landfill). USF is among the national leaders in recycling and composting in a city that leads the nation in these efforts. We are constantly striving to improve with the help and support of our students, staff and faculty.