Recycling and Waste Management


The USF purchasing department is presently reviewing a new Green Purchasing Directive that was developed by the Waste/Recycling/Purchasing Subcommittee. It has been requested that Sustainability be an agenda item at the Interinstitutional Committee on Purchasing meeting. Several general efforts are underway such as Energy Star purchases of computer equipment, flex fuel purchases for the university fleet, and an emphasis on the importance of sustainability to USF vendors in the competitive bidding process. Physical plant currently purchases Green Seal Certified products for cleaning throughout the university: Respect TM foam soap (made by GOJO specifically for Unisource), Spartan chemicals (including all purpose cleaner, glass cleaner, carpet cleaner, floor seal and finish, floor finish remover, clean by peroxy 15, and Green Solutions Industrial Cleaner), and paper products (toilet tissue jumbo 80 percent recycled content, multifold towels, roll paper towels). Recycled office paper and office papers with various levels of recycled content are available for various colleges and departments to purchase. Most colleges and departments recycle their office paper.

Dining Services

Currently, USF Aramark receives local products from Flowers Baking Company, Dressler Foods, TG Lee Dairy, R.G.E. Distributing, and Beege Distributing. They are also researching receiving fresh produce from a company called Fresh Point that supports local growers. Most of their brands on campus carry Fair Trade products. They are also speaking with a company to begin utilizing organic produce in the dining halls. All dining halls offer USDA Organic Certified, Vegan & Vegetarian options at every location, every day. They have implemented trayless dining to save water and energy (32,992 gallons of water saved per academic year), and provide reusable recyclable cups for discounted fountain beverage purchases and reusable recyclable bags to transport food purchases. Dining in with reusable tableware is encouraged, but Aramark also provides reusable recyclable to-go containers. USF Dining Services recycles cardboard and tin materials through Frito-Lay and Republic Waste Services. Low-watt light bulbs are now used and are recycled through Frontier lighting (saves 1,689 kilowatt hours per academic year). Grease from the restaurants is taken by Darling Restaurant Services or Filtafry, which recycles it for biodiesel to power automobiles. Some restaurants now use paper napkins made from 100 percent unbleached, recycled content and are making a switch to green-ware that uses a renewable corn-based resin. There are three recycling containers outside each dining halls where patrons are able to recycle their materials and Aramark partners with the university in recycling at other retail locations.


There is an extensive recycling program, since 1990, operated by Physical Plant. Yard waste is collected by Republic, and the vendor separates materials. Garbage “solids” are burned at the Falkenburg facility to generate electricity. Scrap metal is recycled. Some food waste is being composted with USF Grounds department. USF regularly participates in the Waste Minimization category in Recyclemania.


On-line review of plans, policies, and other documents saves large amounts of paper every year. Many faculty make use of the digital drop-box feature on Blackboard and review and return term papers and tests electronically. Studies are underway at computing facilities on campus to assess paper use, reuse, and recycling efforts. Over 2,000 recycling containers for paper have been distributed on campus (over 500 tons of paper were recycled in 2009; 9,700 tons have been recycled since the program began).


USF has completed its first waste audit. Data including volumes and revenue for paper and aluminum recycling have been compiled. Student assistants went through actual receipts from 1996 through 2007. It was determined that physical plant has recycled over 48 tons of aluminum and over 9,700 tons of mixed paper. This is an important step in developing a plan to expand recycling efforts. Physical plant expanded its recycling of plastics and glass in addition to the Sycamore Drive Community Recycling Center. An additional 350 blue recycling containers were distributed to academic and administrative Tampa campus buildings. Additional containers are planned. The USF Student Environmental Association has been working on establishing aluminum can recycling in the residence halls. They have secured a private sector partner – Tampa Bay Recycling – to donate the bins. The Housing and Residential Education Recycling Committee is beginning a pilot project in Juniper-Poplar (a 1,000 bed residence) with bins donated from Coca-Cola Recycles.

Electronic Equipment Recycling

To date, various colleges, departments, and divisions oversee their own electronic waste recycling. Many colleges and departments actively recycle their equipment with various companies and programs.

Recycling Construction Debris

Construction waste is increasingly being recycled. All LEED projects require records to be submitted as evidence.