USC saves 1 million plastic bottles from landfill

Dasani can bottles

The University announced in a November USC News article that it prevented 32 tons of plastic, or the equivalent of one million bottles, from being sent into landfills. 

The ban on single-use bottles marks a milestone for USC’s “aggressive” sustainability framework called “Assignment: Earth.” The plan states the University’s mission to reach carbon neutrality by 2025 and zero waste by 2028. To reach the latter goal, the University introduced its elimination of single-use plastic bottles from all of its campuses at the start of July 2022, a process that involved negotiating with The Coca-Cola Company to only supply non-plastic products, placing more hydration stations around the campuses and removing plastic bottles from vending machines and selling points — such as those at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

The results of these efforts have left Ellen Dux, the associate director of USC’s Office of Sustainability, “over the moon” with what she considers to be “such a huge win” for the University.

“To think that in just a couple months’ time with a lot of hard work on behalf of the whole Trojan community, [where] everybody is doing their part to make this win happen, that we could take a million bottles out of that slipstream is incredible,” Dux said.

For Isabella Pangilinan, a junior majoring in environmental studies and member of the Environmental Student Assembly, the change in policy has been noticeable — especially in stores on campus where single-use plastic packing for beverages has been replaced with aluminum cans.

“I think in the past few years, USC has really done a lot in terms of sustainability, especially with the inauguration of President Carol Folt … sustainability was one of her top priorities,” Pangalinan said.

Dux said she agrees with Pangilinan’s assessment of Folt, saying that the President is being an “enormous champion” for sustainability at USC.

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