Single-Use Plastic Beverage Bottle Elimination

Single-use plastics are causing global problems β€” and plastic water and beverage bottles are major contributors. Every year billions of tons of plastic waste are landfilled, incinerated, or dumped in the ocean, where they leach pollutants into our water, air, soil, and food. Currently in the U.S., less than 8% of all discarded plastics are recycled. We need systemic change to reduce negative environmental and public health impacts.

To help address the crisis, USC has eliminated single-use plastic beverage bottles from campus. Since July 2022, our ban on single-use plastic beverage bottles has kept over 3 million bottles out of landfills. In support of the zero waste goal in Assignment: Earth, we have eliminated single-use plastic beverage bottles from campus by:

  • Transitioning to beverage container alternatives including glass and aluminum which can be more sustainably sourced than plastic and have increased recyclability
  • Encouraging the use of hydration stations, water coolers/dispensers, and water fountains instead of single-use plastic water bottles

What You Can Do

  • Use a refillable water bottle, and fill up at one of the hydration stations across campuses
  • Take the sustainability pledge and get 10% off on a reusable water bottle from the USC Bookstore
  • Book your campus events with USC Hospitality Private Events and Conferences and request caterers and materials that prioritize waste reduction
  • Avoid single-use items for events and everyday living. Prioritize reuse, and products that can be safely used multiple times

What USC Is Doing

  • Providing more access to compost and recycling waste streams
    • USC has installed new exterior multi-stream waste bins across HSC, UPC, and USC Village
  • USC Hospitality has transitioned their dining operations away from single-use plastics to sustainable alternatives
  • USC’s ban on single-use plastic beverage bottles has kept millions of bottles out of landfills.
@uscedu Plastic bottles?! πŸ™…πŸ™…πŸ™… USC will eliminate single-use plastic bottles on all campuses and at sporting events by 7/1!πŸ‘ #USCEarthWeek #USC #TommyTrojan #FightOn ♬ Ah ah ah – kriptozavr

Celebrating one million plastic bottles removed from campus
Zero Waste Auditors take on plastic bottles


Help the University community by taking action in your office, in your purchases, and while at cafeterias and events on campus.

Get Visual Aids

PowerPoint slides provide a clear overview of the elimination process. Download the presentation below.

Read the Policy

USC has an official plastic bottle elimination policy. Read the full policy at the link below.

Vendor Checklist

Help your vendors and caterers choose suitable alternatives to single-use plastics whenever possible.

Look Out for Plastics

If you see single-use plastic bottles that don’t belong, let us know.

Make the Transition

Need help developing a transition plan for eliminating plastic bottle use?

Find Hydration Stations

Use this interactive map to find stations to fill your reusable water bottle on campus.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs on USC’s single-use plastic beverage and water bottle elimination policy and best practices. The reduction of single-use plastic beverage bottles supports the zero waste goal of Assignment: Earth.

If you have a question that is not addressed below, contact