Before all home games, FMS places recycling bins out for the tailgaters to use.

“The USC Office of Sustainability, which works with students to implement recycling projects like the Tailgate Waste Diversion project, hires students to help,” said Betty Davis, who oversees the FMS Waste Management team. The goal of this project is to have students pick up all of the trash around the campus during home games, and then sort the items and place them in special recycling bins. 

In 2012 the combined efforts of Waste Management and the Office of Sustainability diverted about 11% of all tailgate trash from going to landfills. In 2013, with the help from the California Conservation Corps, they doubled that figure.

“We come in after the students and lift out all the bins,” said Betty about FMS Waste Management’s role in this project. Each ‘lift’ is equal to four yards of a trash dumpster. Last year they lifted 181 of these dumpsters after the homecoming game.

The FMS Waste Management unit prioritizes the diversion of university waste from landfills, encouraging the reuse of as many resources as possible. For the unit and their project partners, 22% is a stepping stone on the way to sustainability.  They are already planning for the 2014 football season and an even larger increase in waste diversion.