Sustainable Campus

Waste Management

The Facilities Department at USF St. Petersburg Campus manages all waste generated on campus. The department ensures solid waste is collected and disposed in a safe, cost effective, environmentally sound, and an aesthetically satisfactory manner. The campus is continually integrating sustainable practices to reduce solid waste generation.

Waste Diversion Goals

  • Source Reduction & Re-use
  • Increase recycling rates
  • Divert at least 90% of organic materials to composting facilities (on and off campus) by 2030
  • Integrate the green purchasing policy into existing procurement procedures

Projects/Current efforts

1. Recycling Stations

Thirty one Recycling Stations on campus are built out of recycled milk jugs. Recycling stations are strategically located across campus. See Map.

USF's St. Petersburg campus encourages students and staff to drop off their home recycling on campus. Home recycling can be dropped off into any of the 96-gallon recycling dumpsters behind the University Student Center.

2. Food Waste Management

The University of South Florida is working to sustainably manage food waste on campus. According to data from the National Resource Defense Council reports that 22 million pounds of food are wasted each year on college campuses, with the average college student contributing to about 142 pounds in food waste. The campus is continuously investing in initiatives and programs to increase awareness and improve our food waste management.

  • The ORCA. The ORCA Biodigester is a 2019 student-initiated SGEF project that aims to tackle food waste. The current model located in the Reef digests up to 15 lb of food waste per hour.

As of December 2020, the ORCA has diverted 8,466 lbs of food waste from the landfill. This is equivalent to avoiding the emission of 7,822 pounds of CO2 or carbon sequestered by 4.6 acres of U.S. forests in one year. These statistics are displayed on an info-graphic projected on a screen for public viewing in the Reef and the Nest. 

  • Food Recovery Program. The food recovery program is a student led initiative aimed at reducing food waste and serving the community by collecting surplus food from our cafeteria that would otherwise be thrown away and donating it to local food banks.

Since its Inception in Spring 2017, the program has recovered a total of 7,897.45 pounds to date. See The Data

3. Green Labs Program

The Kimberly Clark RightCycle program was initiated in 2018 by SGEF with the aim of diverting previously hard-to-recycle and commonly used laboratory nitrile gloves from landfills into eco-friendly consumer goods.  As of February 2021,USF St. Petersburg campus has diverted a total of 509 pounds of glove waste from the landfill.

How it works: 

  • Lab TA's sign up to participate.
  • Participating labs purchase and add recyclable gloves to the labs
  • Students have the option of choosing to use either disposable or recyclable gloves.  
  • Lab TA's collect the used recyclable gloves in each lab
  • Custodial team hauls the used recyclable gloves from the labs to a centralized location at the KRC building.
  • The Sustainability Planner monitors when shipments are needed.

 4. E-Waste Program

The E-Waste program at USF St. Petersburg campus is aimed at reducing electronic waste on campus. Batteries, Printer cartridges, Computer parts, Mobile Phones and other electronic waste items are collected and disposed of properly by the IT Department

Efforts Include:

  • Battery disposal at local battery recycling centers.
  • Disposal of our computer parts at local recycling centers.
  • Automatically powering off idle lab and classroom computers.
  • Mobile phone, battery and print cartridge recycling.
  • Promoting the purchase of Restriction of Hazardous Substances compliant low-power
  • computer hardware and peripherals.
  • Purchasing recycled paper and recycling used paper for all Campus Computing needs.

Call or visit the Campus Computing Help Desk for information about recycling computer waste.  727-873-4357  |  BAY 226

5. Move-Out Donation Drive Program

USF St. Petersburg campus holds a Move Out Donation Drive to collect unwanted materials from students moving out of the residence halls. Items such as; Furniture, clothing, appliances, books, unused toiletries among others are collected and donated to local non-profit organizations. 

In Spring 2019, The Move Out Donation Drive donated 2,000 lb of goods to the community.

6. Waste Diversion Summit

The Beyond Waste Student Summit is a full day workshop that brings together students to understand the systemic impact of waste, from extraction to disposal. 

In partnership with the Post Landfill Action Network (PLAN), USF St. Petersburg campus hosted the first annual workshop in the South Coast region in Spring 2020.

Over 40 attendees participated from universities all over Florida including Eckerd College, St. Petersburg College, University of North Florida, and more.