Sustainability at MUSC

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Waste Diversion

For information on how to recycle at MUSC, please visit the Sustainability & Recycling section found on the Horseshoe intranet. You can also find the MUSC Waste Management Guide at the bottom of this page.

Proper waste management is essential to building sustainable and healthy communities. This involves learning how to responsibly and efficiently handle our resources from cradle to grave.


MUSC recycles millions of pounds of material every year.

Why we recycle: 

  • The Environment: Recycling reduces greenhouse gas emissions, reduces litter, and pollution. 
  • The Economy: The recycling industry in SC has a $13 billion annual impact on the state economy, is responsible for 22,403 jobs and saves money on waste disposal here at MUSC.
  • It’s Efficient: Recycling saves energy. It takes more energy to extract, transport, and process virgin materials for products than to use recycled feedstocks.
  • Human Health: Recycling reduces the need to extract, move, and process raw materials. The pollution associated with these activities has a detrimental impact on human health. Recycling hazardous waste like electronic waste also keeps dangerous chemicals from potentially contaminating water supplies. 

MUSC tracks our waste diversion every year in the annual RecycleMania Competition, along with hundreds of other schools across the nation. 


Composting is nature’s way of recycling organic material.

Why we compost:

  • Reduces waste sent to the landfill saving money on waste disposal costs.
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Helps make our campus beautiful - MUSC uses finished compost on our grounds.

Pre-Consumer Composting
MUSC has partnered with the College of Charleston, The Citadel, and Trident Technical College in a multi-agency compost hauling contract in an effort to divert cafeteria pre-consumer food waste from the landfill to the Bee's Ferry Compost facility. The three cafeterias on the MUSC campus compost tons of prep waste and unserved leftovers every year.

Post-Consumer Composting
To further reduce landfilled waste at MUSC, we are piloting our first public compost bins in the Library Lobby and the first two floors of Basic Science Building.

MUSC's vermicompost facility uses worms to breakdown food scraps from the cafeteria into vermicompost - a potent soil amendment that is used to help grow plants at the urban farm.

Waste Reduction

Stopping Waste at the source is the most effective method for Waste Management. MUSC is committed to reducing waste in procurement and sourcing.


MUSC has a variety of reuse programs that help us to make the most of our resources.

  • Office and Lab Supply Exchanges on campus where new and lightly used supplies can be picked up or dropped off.
  • Reuse discounts: Bring your favorite cup, bottle, or thermos to work and use it instead of disposable cups. Pay just $.79 for any drink, soda, or coffee at the cafeteria.
  • MUSC’s Surplus Departments allow used and extra resources to be re-used or sold.
  • Water bottle filling stations around campus encourage reusable water bottles.

MUSC Waste Management Guide

MUSC Recycling Guide Side One - infographic transcript belowMUSC Recycling Guide P2 - infographic transcript below

Infographic Transcript: Waste Management Guide at the Medical University of South Carolina

Waste Stream Overview at MUSC

  • Hard plastic, glass, and metal are recycled in the blue circle-top bins. Examples include plastic and glass bottles, aluminum cans, and plastic containers.
  • Plastic bags can only be recycled in the E-cycler located in the Colbert Library Lobby. Examples include plastic grocery bags of any color. 
  • Paper can be recycled in green-lid slit top bins across campus and also in rolling carts, and secure consoles. All paper on campus is shredded and recycled. Examples include white and color paper.
  • Cardboard and Paperboard are recycled by placing them next to your trash/landfill bin. Examples include empty glove boxes, to-go coffee cup sleeves, and broken down shipping boxes.
  • E-waste, batteries, and toner are recycled in a variety of locations on campus listed below.  Examples include computer mice, toner cartridges, and batteries. 
  • Compost is collected in brown square top containers. Examples include pizza, paper towels, and food containers specified as compostable. 
  • Landfill or trash is placed in black bins around the campus. Examples include gloves, to-go coffee cups (unless specified as compostable) and plastic cutlery.

Waste Stream Overview at MUSC (Page 2) 

  • Hard Plastic, Glass, and Metal - Recycle hard plastics, unbroken glass containers, steel, tin, & aluminum containers, and empty, non-hazardous aerosol cans. No plastic bags, plastic wrap, Styrofoam, to-go coffee cups, paper towels, snack wrappers, foods or liquids!
  • Plastic Bags - Drop off plastic bags at the “multi-cycler bin" in the Colbert Library lobby.
  • Cardboard & Paperboard - Flatten cardboard & paperboard and place next to your trash/landfill bin.
  • Cardboard is baled and recycled by environmental services.
  • E-Waste - Recycling can take the following items as E-Waste: wires/plugs, CDs, flash drives, discs, cassettes, small radios, speakers, computer mice, LEDs, cell phones, and portable media players. For other state property, contact surplus MUHA 6-7000, UNIV 2-3060.
  • E-Waste & Battery Drop-Off Locations: Colbert Library lobby, Main Hospital by the cafe, Harborview lobby, Clinical Sciences Building 9th floor, Rutledge Tower trash room*, Strom Thurmond loading dock entrance*, Children’s Research Institute loading dock*, Bioengineering Building loading dock*, and ART receiving area* (*These areas have toner locations*). E-Waste, batteries, and toner are only collected on Tuesdays.
  • Paper - Dispose of confidential information in secure containers. Magazines, newspapers, and office paper are all accepted. All paper on campus is shredded and recycled. For large amounts put in service request or call 843-792-4119.
  • Landfill - Items that cannot be recycled or composted: Styrofoam containers, gloves, and to-go coffee cups.
  • Compost - Compost food scraps, compostable containers, & food-soiled paper like greasy pizza boxes. Other examples: processed foods, fruits, vegetables, meats, and other cooked foods. No plastic cutlery, to-go coffee cups.
  • Batteries - Put in a service request to receive a battery bin or use the drop-off locations (on left). UPS Batteries must be removed from the shell before recycling. The shells can be
    recycled as electronic waste in a separate request.
  • Toner - Toner can be recycled at numerous locations around campus. See the marked (*) drop off locations left or call 843-792-4066 to find a toner box near you.
  • Waste Report: (Fiscal Year 2019). 23% of waste diverted from the landfill. Diversion refers to the amount of waste that is recycled or composted rather than placed into the landfill as municipal solid waste. 109 Tons of food scraps composted (an 11% increase over last year). 42.9 tons of Plastic, Glass, and Metal. 368 Tons of Paper. 416 tons of cardboard. 81.88 tons of E-Waste, Batteries, and Toner.
  • What Happens to Your Recycling? Plastic Glass and Metal – MUSC’s plastic, glass, and metal is collected and then picked up and processed by Charleston County Environmental Management. Despite some challenges the county has experienced while in-between recycling processing facilities the majority of this material is being processed at their Romney St. facility and then sent to recyclers and re-manufacturers. Paper – All paper collected at MUSC is shredded and brought to local-recycler Sonoco. The shredded paper is then recycled into paper towels and toilet tissue. Compost – Compostable materials are brought to the Bees Ferry Compost Facility where they are placed in long piles called “windrows” for processing. Once the material finishes breaking down, the compost is sold as a soil enrichment to grow more plants. Cardboard - Cardboard is also sent to Sonoco where it is processed to create more cardboard and craft paper.

Email with questions or call 843-792-4066