How to Conduct a Waste Audit And Save Your Company’s Money
Take a step towards sustainability. Because there’s no Plan(et) B.
Guess what a Great Forest survey based on 100 waste audits revealed about a typical office throw-out? The average commercial office waste stream in the U.S. consists of approximately 77% recyclable and compostable materials, with only about 23% being real “trash.” That represents a lot of lost value in terms of company finances as well as customer loyalty.
What Is a Waste Audit?
Simply put, a waste audit tells you what’s in your trash. It collects, stores, and identifies the components of your business’s waste stream to determine the types of waste materials (paper, plastic, food, etc.), the associated volumes, sources of waste, recyclable materials, and waste reduction opportunities. A waste audit helps you streamline your company’s waste management system.
Why Should You Get a Waste Audit Done For Your Company?
Waste management audits can help you regulate your waste operations by testing their effectiveness. It can help you attain your sustainability goals and certification standards, helping you join the green movement and gain your customers’ trust. A Waste audit helps you fetch accurate data on your waste disposal because, without it, you are just shooting in the dark. Ultimately, by not wasting recyclable material, your business can save a lot of money.
How to Do a Waste Audit?
Here’s a step by step guide on how to conduct a waste audit for your company –
Step 1: Call an Official Waste Audit Planning Meet
Make a green team that would be dedicated to the waste management project. This could be an internal sustainability team (existing employees and cleaning staff) or a specially recruited external team. Do a company walk-through to assess your waste management objectives, goals, timelines, and responsibilities. Understand the current waste disposal system and think of innovative ways to improve it.
Step 2: Design and Schedule a Waste Audit
Decide the exact time to do the waste audit depending on the days your company operations generate maximum trash. You can do a 5-day audit, followed by a few random audits to get a clearer picture. Create a waste audit worksheet to capture essential data like the composition of waste materials and sources of waste. Also enlist all the tools you would need, for example, trash bags, labels, a designated sorting area, protective gear, etc.
Step 3: Group Your Waste into Categories
Categorize your waste for an easier sorting process. The categories can be increased or decreased based on the type of business you’re in. Some common waste categories are:
• Plastic bottles
• Food waste
• Other plastic
• Packaging materials
• Electronic waste
Step 4: Sort Your Waste
Now comes the most important part of the waste management audit. Once you collect all the waste samples using tarps and labels, record waste quantities and weights. Take photos of the sorted trash based on its source and recyclability. Use online resources to help you look up different types of waste and their composition.
Step 5: Prepare Your Waste Audit Report
Make a note of the departments that generate waste, the weight of the waste collected, and its types. Now convert the data you have collected into percentages, totals, average opportunities for better waste disposal and waste reduction. Make a note of all the recyclable materials, including recyclable paper and plastic.
Step 6: Do a Waste Report Analysis
Making sense of the data is essential to understanding the next steps for better waste management. Determine which waste categories are the highest, the number of new waste categories discovered, and calculate your company’s waste diversion rate. It is also profitable to check if you found any recyclables mixed with the other trash. Set industrial benchmarks to improve your waste management processes. Hire good quality industrial garbage equipment like a commercial trash compactor that reduces the volume of the waste, thereby plummeting the disposal cost.
Even though you’ve always had a waste management process in place, you’ll be surprised to discover the opportunities that a waste audit presents you with to manage your business’s waste better and save the environment as well as your money. Communicate the audit results and goals for improvement to your employees and encourage them to contribute to the enhanced waste management system.
How to Conduct a Waste Audit
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving the environment through effective recycling techniques and modern innovations. He works with Compactor Management Company and writes on a variety of topics related to recycling, including tips and advice on how balers, compactors, and shredders can be used to reduce industrial waste. He loves helping businesses understand how to lower their monthly garbage bills and increase revenue from recycling.
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Thank you for reading!