Green Your Office

A poster of the average office worker's waste generation.

The typical campus office provides lots of opportunities for going green. From adjusting your office’s lighting to the types of office supplies you choose and use, there are many things you can do to make your office more sustainable. Here are some tips that are easy to implement and will make a considerable difference over time!

Eliminate Plastic Bottles

USC is eliminating single-use plastic beverage bottles from campus. In support of the zero waste goal in Assignment: Earth, you can help by:

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

Shop Green

USC Business Services has made it easy to buy green supplies and make sustainable purchases.

Support Our Neighborhood Businesses

Keep your cash close to campus by supporting Trojans Shop Local.

Commuter Alternatives

Visit USC Transportation for information on buses, shuttles, and commuter cars for details on Zimride, USC carpool, LA DOT, or private vanpool. Share information in your communal area(s). Learn more about the Faculty and Staff Transit Subsidy. Get a discounted loan rate for electric vehicles, hybrids, and fuel-efficient vehicles from the USC Credit Union.


Set computers to go to sleep after five minutes of inactivity and turn them off on nights and weekends. If needed, contact your IT department to help you change your settings.

Copy Paper

Use paper with minimum 30% recycled content (ideally 100%).

Copy Toner

Recycle used toner and ink cartridges by contacting Material and Mailing Services for pick-up.

Printer Default

Make two-sided printing and copying your default. If needed, contact your IT department to change the settings on your computer and/or printer.

Kitchen Area

Eliminate the use of polystyrene, such as styrofoam food service ware and replace with permanent service ware (mugs, dishes, utensils, etc.). Use refillable containers for sugar, salt, and pepper. For disposables, choose BPI-certified compostable tableware.

Kitchen Cleaning Products

Choose eco-friendly product options for dish soap, hand soap, cleaning wipes, multipurpose cleaners, and any other product, including air fresheners.


For desk lamps, use LED bulbs.

Waste Reduction

Before buying a new item, consider its longevity or repurposing potential; check with your supplier to see if they have take a back program. Go paperless for reports and manuals. Where possible, request e-billing from all vendors. Reduce printing of emails, attachments, and documents. Use DocuSign for electronic routing and approval of documents instead of printing, signing, and scanning. Reuse paper or plastic packaging materials in your own shipments.


Contact USC Surplus to pick-up and maximize re-use of items for which your office no longer has a need.

Reusable Water Bottles

Choose reusable water bottles, glasses, and cups to use at hydration stations on UPC and HSC campuses.


USC Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) offers a free-of-charge e-waste pick-up service for electronics and other universal waste items. E-waste that is not damaged should be reused/recycled. Get started by filling out the Universal Waste Pickup Request Form. View the Universal Waste Management Fact Sheet. Questions? Email or call (323) 442-2200. Contact USC Surplus to pick-up and maximize re-use of usable items for which your office no longer has a need.

Non-Rechargeable Batteries

Use rechargeable batteries wherever possible. For non-rechargeable batteries, USC Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S) distributes large, pre-labeled battery recycling containers. For more information and to find a container near you, view the EH&S Battery Recycling Locations Fact Sheet and Map. For batteries larger than D-size, request a hazmat pick-up online by filling out the Universal Waste Pickup Request Form. If you have additional questions, contact

Multi-Stream Waste Bins

Learn the proper way to compost and recycle with the multi-stream campus waste bins.

Recycling Bins

Each desk and communal area must have a blue recycling bin. Make sure to recycle cardboard, mixed paper, plastics, bottles, cans, and glass. To request recycling bins, email Gina Whisenant. For additional questions regarding recycling, and the removal of large or unusual trash items (i.e., lumber, bricks, glass, etc.), contact the Customer Resource Center (CRC) for your campus: University Park Campus at (213) 740-6833, Health Sciences Campus at (323) 224-7001 or visit the FMS Service Request Page.

Plan Sustainable Events

Make sure the events that you host on campus follow sustainable best practices.

Little Green Guide

View the USC Little Green Guide for tips on how to make sustainable changes outside the office.

Team Work Makes The Green Work

Commit to one staff meeting and/or lunch-n-learn per semester to discuss the topic of sustainability, using the information on this page as a guide.