Green Games

Student walking by large recycling and compost containers.

Help the Trojans Win

Come cheer on the Trojans and help USC achieve our goal by properly sorting your game-day waste into the compost and recycle bins. Try to limit your use of single-use items and re-use items where possible.

Green Tailgating Tips

Make every game you attend a “Green Game!” The following tips can help make your tailgates more sustainable.

Reuse: After every game several thousand plastic cups litter the campus grounds, creating a sea of trash. Ditch the disposable and pick up some reusable cups. The same is true for utensils, plates, and decorations. By reusing items, you not only generate less waste, but you also reduce the environmental impact of the manufacturing and shipping of disposable and recyclable items. If you’re worried about bringing grandma’s best china, hit the thrift store or Target for inexpensive reusable and unbreakable cups, dishes, utensils and cloth napkins. Skip the balloons, throw a Trojan football instead.

Recycle: You can recycle more than you think! All bottles, cans, cardboard, paper, and plastic with a recycle number 1-7 can be recycled on campus in the recycling bins. By making the effort to put your material in the recycling bin rather than the trash, you reduce the amount of waste sent to the landfill.

Compost: Food waste, soiled paper products, or compostable service ware can be disposed of in green compost bins that you will likely find in the ticketed enclosed tailgates, as well as at our new multi-stream bins, found in various locations across UPC campus.

Bulk Up: Purchase your food and beverages in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging. Pair a *ahem* bulk beverage container with reusable cups for an unbeatable combo. Remember, reusable cups come in all sizes, allowing for greater variety than 16oz. Get your friends to chip in and buy your food in large quantities to save some green while going green. Getting fresh chips from your local restaurant in paper bags provides the best tasting chips and allows you to compost the paper bag after they’re all gone- no plastic to put into the trash. Avoid “snack” sizes of anything; more plastic, less taste.

Go Local: Make your food and beverages from local ingredients. Buying local supports the Southern California economy and reduces emissions and packaging needed for transporting products from a greater distance. Worried, you’ll miss your brew? Los Angeles has a number of local breweries who may be able to package a tasty beverage in bulk for you to enjoy.

Slow Your Roll: Take the train, bus or carpool. The Metro E (Expo) Line has three stops adjacent to campus and two that are next to Expo Park. Plan your trip. Reducing the number of vehicles that come to campus and the Coliseum on game day reduces congestion and air pollution, optimizing Trojan lung capacity (for playing or cheering). Worried about lugging stuff on the train? Rethink what you need: bring recyclable containers for drinks, food in compostable containers (paper), pick a shady spot to enjoy your tailgate and roll up blankets to bring with you in your bag.

Green Games

Every year, PAC-12 campuses compete with each other in pursuit of a zero waste home game. USC hosts two “Green Games” a year; one football game at the Coliseum in the fall and one men’s basketball game at the Galen Center in the spring.

Equal parts bragging rights and Trojan pride, the competition encourages USC to move towards zero waste and be creative in developing best practices, whether it be directly through reuse, recycling, and composting or by working with partners to drive impactful changes. 

At “Green Games,” fans, concessionaires, and teams contribute toward the goal of achieving at least a 90% game-day waste diversion rate from landfill.  Specialty receptacles are added to the venue to make it easier for fans to compost or recycle their waste, with landfill items pulled from stock as much as possible.

Green Game Results

The Galen Center hosted its second “Green Game” on 1/29/22 for the men’s basketball game against CAL, achieving a 91.8% diversion rate.

Sustainable Developments at USC Athletics Venues:

The Galen Center has seen a clean energy retrofit that resulted in:

  • 600 kilowatts of solar energy capacity
  • Up to 15% of Galen Center power
  • 915,000 kW hours/year of electrical output — enough to power 88 houses annually
  • 3,332 energy conserving LED light bulbs installed
  • $10 million in energy savings over 25 years

LA Coliseum 2023 Football Season:

  • 90% waste diversion rate for seven football games
  • 66.14 tons of game-day waste diverted from landfill (72.1 total tons generated during season)
  • >1,200 tons of game-day waste diverted from landfill since 2015