The University of San Diego promotes a Zero Waste goal for the campus by focusing on various campus initiatives. USD has incorporated single-stream recycling across campus to make recycling easier. To help divert waste from paper cups, Dining Services promotes their Sustain-A-Bottle, a reusable water bottle for refills. Dining areas contain pre-consumer composting sections, while community composting takes place at USD’s Crossroads Garden and SOLES. By using DocuSign instead of paper, USD has reduced solid waste by 2,046 pounds. Throughout the school-year, USD promotes and hosts various Zero Waste programming that educates the community on mindful consumption.


Zero Waste Event Guide

Learn about USD's commitment to zero waste, why it is important, and how to plan a zero waste event to help USD become a more sustainable campus. This zero waste event guide provides useful tips and tricks on marketing, planning, and hosting events in a sustainable manner. 

USD Waste Stream

A 2012 waste audit ("Environmental Services Proposal for the University of San Diego" by Waste Management) revealed the composition of the USD waste stream as:

  • 51% comingled recyclables
  • 41% solid waste
  • 5% cardboard
  • 1% electronic waste
  • 1% green waste

Food Digester

In 2009, USD became the first college campus to install a BioHiTech Digester. This food digester is located in the (LEED Gold Certified) Student Life Pavilion. It uses a highly refined formula of micro-organisms and water to transform 3,200 pounds of food waste into liquid each week.  Food waste is entirely eliminated in approximately 24 hours, allowing the liquid to return to the ecosystem as grey water.  According to BioHiTech America, operating the company’s 1200 model at full capacity for 1-year will reduce emissions of 470,000 pounds of CO2 and 58 MTCE of greenhouse gases.

In addition to using this food digester, USD Dining strives to offer fresh, wholesome foods and quality services in a sustainable way- read more about their sustainability efforts.