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.