Trash Audit – What, Why and How to Get Started

Do you find some eco friendly ideas and/or top tips might work for others but not for you, and equally the other way around? It’s time to get down and dirty (literally) and channel your inner fox – and have a rummage through your bin! By identifying your most wasted items you can make the most effective changes.

How to get started with a trash audit:

1. How many days do you want to look at?

A day is often not long enough so aim for a few days, and if possible a week. I conduct my audit when my kitchen bin ( our main household bin) is full this is normally a few days.

2. How will you record your waste?

If you have the space (and the stomach) for it, you can empty your bin onto the floor (outside) and make sure you are wearing gloves to start raking through.

Don’t fancy the idea of getting up close and personal with the bin? Put this easy bin audit tracker near your bin for everyone to use before they refuse! (Scroll to the bottom for the PDF download)

You can also use a wipeable board to either tally up certain objects or get everyone to make a note of what they are adding to the bin.

Weigh the bag on some luggage scales and work to reduce from there.

Go digital and make notes on your phone if that works better for you – or you can even take pictures as a visual reminder.

3. Household Recycling Centres

If you go down to the tip today, you’ll probably find a huge variety of sections for your household waste. Familiarise yourself with your local centre to see if some of the items making their way to your general waste can be separated further, e.g. batteries, broken electrical cables, bras… you name it, there’s a place for it!

4. Compost and Recycling

Has something crept through the cracks and not been correctly discarded? An apple core from a lunchbox or a drinks can… make sure these are removed from general waste and recycled or composted. If you’re using a tally system make sure you remind everyone where these things are supposed to go. I find telling them they will have to fish it out the bin for themselves if it happens again normally is enough for a few weeks perfect refuse.

Not sure of what can be recycled or composted? Take a look at our quick guide HERE

5. What did you find?

How many of each item is being thrown? Does it shock you or was it what you expected? With this information you can make specific changes for you and your household.

6. Set a goal

Ill share my experience as an example:

My 3 main problem areas were food waste, food packaging and drinks cans.

I’m not proud of my Pepsi Max obsession, however, seeing the numbers in front of me and succumbing to how unhealthy it is compared to other options I’ve been able to set myself challenges, one of which I’m undertaking now which has banned pepsi max from passing my lips all through January.

If you’re new to this concept, 3 changes tends to be enough to get started.

7. Re-audit

Are the changes you’ve made really working? Choosing to audit when my bin bag is full actually allows me to compare how many days it takes to be filled as well as its contents.

Notice any changes and if they are successful – keep up the good work and maybe introduce a tighter goal or something additional.

Not seeing any real changes? First thing, keep going! Adjust those goals and try try again. If you start to lose momentum pick something else to work on for a while and revisit at a later date.

8. Join the Zero To Eco New Years Challenge on Facebook

Join NOW before 31st January 2022 to find out more about setting goals and changes for your trash audit.

There is also a £100 Eco Giveaway taking place during January in the challenge group

Share your trash audit and don’t forget to tag Between Green on social media

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