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Why carry out for a waste audit? #zerowasteweek

Why carry out a waste audit?? It’s easy to think we know what goes in our bin, but do we really? Carrying out an audit may surprise you. The process itself can help you evaluate, help you realise habits you can tweak to make significant changes.

Perhaps the day I picked for my waste audit wasn’t the best, it was a normal school holiday day.

To set the context my daughter had a friend stay over with plans to craft or the day and squeeze a coffee in with an old housemate (I’ve not seen Clive for 14 years or more, he lives in Zimbabwe). Plus catch up with one of my besties (mother of the child who stayed over, keeping up?!). The dishwasher broke in amidst, so throw an appliance repairer into the midst. Early morning I spontaneously decided to collect my waste for the day, with no planning it truly is a reflection of an average day (no cheating involved!).

Menu wise it was a day of leftovers. For lunch I fed everyone bread, cheese, chutney and homemade cake, for tea my children had fish fingers, spaghetti and frozen chips, I had cheesy leeks (fridge leftovers!) with a jacket potato.

I decided to sort my waste into sections:

Recycling and Compost – this made up half our waste for the day.
We are fortunate, we have roadside collection paper, cardboard, tins, plastic bottles and yoghurt pots, glass.

As a family, we grow vegetables in raised beds. This naturally means a big compost bin. Although looking at my compost bowl why on earth did it have what looks like a perfectly good apple in it???

Food waste and general rubbish

No matter how much I encourage the children I always have food waste from their plates. At present this goes into our general waste. As part of my waste audit, I have separated it to see just how much of our waste it is. It appears to make up 50% of our general bin family waste.

The second pile of waste for the general bin is made up of the odd baby wipe, a bit of cling film (left over pizza was wrapped in long film in the fridge) plus thin plastic wrappings from food.

There were two items I was not sure what to do with the waxy paper the brie came in and an empty spray can from the crafting activities.

The conclusion of waste audit – food waste makes up 50% of our families landfill rubbish (25% of our daily waste). A solution could be to invest in a bokashi bin which I can put this in. This would make an enormous reduction in landfill waste from our home.

The plastic wrappings round cheese and similar are much harder to reduce. Although I have contemplated being brave and taking containers to the butchers I have not done so. Generally, I shop at Aldi/Lidl and Sainsbury’s, packaging is an issue. If I were to drive 6 miles I could shop at a market and take t towel drawstring bags (you find a tutorial for making them here).

Today’s zero waste week challenge is:

Just for today I want you to see if you can accumulate NOTHING for your bin. You get bonus points for carrying any waste you accumulate in a clear plastic bag today! At the end of the day email me a pic (just hit reply to this email) or tag me on any social media stream using #zerowasteweek @myzerowaste

If you are struggling with where to start (a very common struggle) visit zerowasteweek for some great tips.







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Stephanie Holmes

Thursday 14th of December 2017

I can't control my kids from food waste. It's their normal job. They made food waste regularly. I like the zero food waste challenge and looking forward to getting ideas to stop wasting food.


Friday 8th of September 2017

I happened upon your blog via Sew Sweet Violet on a blog hop. What a nice surprise. I hate waste. I stand behind young mothers with children in the queue in the supermarket and they get about 20 thin plastic bags for their groceries. It is totally unnecessary. I have cloth bags and those reusable plastic 'fabric' bags, it takes no effort. I have net bags for produce or if I don't them I reuse the thin plastic produce bags, they last for ever that is the waste problem so you can easily reuse them. People are generally thoughtless, but of course they are in a hurry and have busy lives. Argh. We have started to stop putting our bins out each week as we simply do not have enough to warrant the walk along the long driveway. We have half a supermarket bag of refuse each week. I throw food scraps ingot he compost mostly, stuff that doesn't go in there and that the dog can't eat goes in the bin. I recycle all glass, steel, aluminium and paper, also we have a recycling at the local super market for plastic packaging. It is so easy to cut down waste. Now I want to cut it out altogether. What to do with old clothes that are threadbare, that's a dilemma. Thank for your blog!


Friday 8th of September 2017

Wow - your waste management is inspiring:) Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yesterday I emailed my local councillor re food waste collection, it made my day to hear back that they are going to be starting a food waste collection service in October:) Plus I discovered my local recycling centre takes thin plastic through the Recycle Now website. I the to save fabric scraps I can't use, stained clothes etc and bag them as rags for the local charity shop. They don't advertise they take scraps as the income for them is minimum but they never refuse my bag!!

Rachelle Strauss

Thursday 7th of September 2017

It's a real eye opener isn't it? And I wonder if many people have the same amount of food waste - I know that before I was separating scraps for the compost bin I could fill an entire kitchen bin with the Sunday lunch prep. I'll be interested to hear if you get a bokashi. A wormery is another idea - that's something your kids might LOVE to take care of. Tell them they're about to get 500 pets :D


Friday 8th of September 2017

Sadly we never managed to keep the worms alive when we had one:( But yesterday my local councillor replied to my email and advised that food waste collection will be starting in October, so delighted:)

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