According to the EPA, the common individual generates 4.51 kilos of waste per day. Have you ever puzzled should you’re on the excessive or low finish of the size? You can discover out by conducting a family waste audit.
I do know, it doesn’t sound like enjoyable digging by means of your rubbish, however one of the simplest ways to scale back your waste is to “know what you throw.” I’ll stroll you thru the method beneath in my very own waste audit.
Reminder: Every waste audit is exclusive, so don’t count on your outcomes to be the identical as mine. Each family has totally different buying habits, and every neighborhood has totally different guidelines for rubbish, recycling, and compost assortment. I reside in a two-person home with no kids, in a metropolis with a inhabitants of fewer than 200,000 individuals.
Step 1: Determine Your Timeline
First, resolve how lengthy you need to observe your waste output. Since most communities acquire rubbish weekly, a seven-day waste audit is suitable. For essentially the most correct audit, conduct your audit the day earlier than assortment day.
If your waste audit reveals that you simply recycle greater than you ship to the landfill, switching to a smaller rubbish cart could prevent cash.
In my instance, my family generated two half-full baggage of rubbish and a half-full bag of recyclables over seven days. My family generates so little waste that we switched to a 48-gallon rubbish cart. We may in all probability go two or three weeks earlier than placing out the bin for pickup if not for the truth that the Arizona summer season warmth turns meals waste into smelly compost in a short time.
Step 2: Prep Your Audit Space
Set down a tarp, newspaper, or different protecting masking on the ground earlier than you start the audit. Ideally, you’ll discover an indoor house so no rubbish blows away, however go for tiled flooring as an alternative of carpet in order that any leaks could be cleaned up extra simply.
Step 3: Organize Your Waste
You’re going to create 4 classes of waste:
Items recyclable on the curb (paper, glass, metallic, plastic bottles)
Items recyclable, however not on the curb (plastic baggage, electronics, batteries)
Organic waste (yard waste, meals, dirty paper)
Everything else (non-recyclable packaging, diapers, straws)
The contents of my family waste audit, with recyclable gadgets on the left and waste that’s destined for the landfill on the fitting.
Step 4: Chart Your Audit Results
Once you will have your waste sorted by class, create a chart that reveals what you will have. Here’s my chart:
Cart Used
Material Type
Description
Quantity
Recycling
Glass
Glass bottles/jars
9
Recycling
Metal
Aluminum foil
4
Recycling
Metal
Metal lids
8
Recycling
Paper
Mixed paper
22
Recycling
Paper
Newsprint
1
Recycling
Paper
Paperboard containers
5
Recycling
Paper
Paperboard tubes
1
Recycling
Plastic
Plastic bottles
11
Recycling
Plastic
Plastic containers
7
Recycling
Plastic
Plastic lids
9
Garbage
Food
Fruit/vegetable stays
11
Garbage
Medical
Bandages
4
Garbage
Paper
Paper cups
2
Garbage
Paper
Soiled paper
8
Garbage
Paper
Candy wrappers
16
Garbage
Plastic
Food packing baggage
27
Garbage
Plastic
Plastic straws
2
Other
Hazardous
Batteries
1
Other
Hazardous
Lightbulbs
2
You don’t should be this detailed, but it surely actually helps since not all paper and plastic are the identical. In my case, rubbish and recycling output is fairly even, with a lot of the rubbish being single-use plastic packaging and meals waste.
Now you will have a fairly good thought of how a lot waste your family generates throughout a week. Of course, this doesn’t embody gadgets that you simply discard away from residence. If you keep in mind these gadgets, think about including them to your listing for a extra correct audit.
Read half 2 of this sequence to learn to make adjustments based mostly on your private home waste audit.
Editor’s word: Earth911 initially printed this text on September 12, 2018.
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