Conducting A Home Waste Audit

 

What is a Home Waste Audit?

  • The Process of collecting, sorting, and measuring waste generated from your household.

Why Should I Conduct a Waste Audit?

  • It allows us to see our waste from a different perspective.  By understanding what's in our waste and how much there is, we can develop a waste management plan that is specific to our household.

How To Conduct a Waste Audit

1.  Collect one day's worth of waste and weigh it.  Tip:  Using a bathroom scale, weigh yourself holding the bag(s), then weigh yourself alone.  Subtract your weight from the weight of you and the bag(s) to get the weight of your daily household waste.
  • Multiply this by 7 to determine how much you throw away in one week.
  • Multiply by 365 to determine how much waste you generate in one year.
  • To get a more accurate estimate of your annual waste generation (because your waste may change daily), weight your waste every day for one week, then multiply your total by 52 weeks.
2.  Sort through your bag(s) of waste and separate into various categories.  For a simple audit, separate your waste into three categories:  recyclables, compostables, and trash.  For a more comprehensive audit, separate your materials into sixteen (16) categories.  Use the worksheet below to record data.

3.  Review your results and determine which items you can reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost.

4.  Write down your goals to reduce, reuse, recycle, or compost.

5.  After you've implemented a waste management plan for your household, repeat the waste audit and compare your before and after results.

Household Waste Audit Worksheet

Number of People in Household =
Duration of Waste Audit (e.g., 1 day, 1 week, 1 month) =

HOUSEHOLD WASTE
# OF ITEMS
WEIGHT % OF TOTAL WASTE (BY WEIGHT)
WASTE ALTERNATIVE?
XXXXXXXXX XXXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXX REDUCE REUSE RECYCLE COMPOST
COMMONLY RECYCLABLE
Aluminum Packaging
             
Aseptic Containers
             
Gable-Top Containers
             
Glass Bottles & Jars
             
Plastic #'s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 7
             
Steel / Tin Bottles & Cans
             
Recyclable Paper
             
Cardboard              
RECYCLABLES TOTAL
             
COMPOSTABLES
Food Waste
             
Non-Recyclable Paper
             
COMPOSTABLE TOTAL
             
OTHERS
Textiles              
Electronics              
Other Metals
             
Other Glass
             
Other Plastic
             
Other              
OTHERS TOTAL
             
TOTAL ALL CATEGORIES
             
Note:  To calculate "% of Total Waste (by weight)" for each category, divide the weight of a category by the "Total All Categories" weight and then multiply by 100.

Description of Waste Categories

COMMONLY RECYCLABLE
  • Aluminum Packaging = Bottles, cans, foil, pie plates, trays.
  • Aseptic Containers = Boxes and pouches (e.g., contained juice, soy milk, broth/stock).
  • Gable-Top Containers = Cartons (e.g., contained juice, milk, candy).
  • Glass Bottles & Jars = Clear, brown, and green glass.
  • Plastic #'s 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, & 7 = Containers that held food, beverages, body care, household products, etc.
  • Steel / Tin Bottles & Cans = Containers that held coffee, fruit, soups, vegetables, aerosols, etc.
  • Recyclable Paper = Catalogs, magazines, newspapers, mail, office paper, etc.
  • Cardboard = Corrugated cardboard, chipboard, paperboard, carrier stock (e.g., shoe boxes, dry food boxes).
For a full list of recyclable items visit http://stlouis-mo.gov/government/departments/street/refuse/recycle/materialsaccepted.cfm.

COMPOSTABLES
  • Food Waste = Food scraps and peelings, expired and rotten food.
  • Non-Recyclable Paper = Napkins, tissues, plates, cups, etc.
OTHERS
  • Textiles = Clothing, linens, towels, etc.
  • Electronics = TVs, stereos, computers, cellular phones, etc.
  • Other Metals = Scrap metal (e.g., hangers, bars, pipes).
  • Other Glass = Blue, black, white glass; ceramic; Pyrex; light bulbs; drinking glasses; dishes; window.
  • Other Plastic = Plastic #6, bags, wrap, film, or containers that held hazardous products.
  • Other = Anything not listed.

Waste Alternatives

Results

BY WEIGHT
PER DAY
PER WEEK
PER YEAR
Total Household Waste
     
Total Household Waste Per Person
     
Recyclables
     
Compostables
     
Other      

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