What Is A Waste Audit? ♻️ Podcast Ep. 33 Don’t Be A Waster



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Transcript: What Is A Waste Audit?


Hello and welcome to another edition of your favourite recycling podcast: that is, of course, Recycle: Don’t be a Waster! In today’s episode, we want to talk about, I suppose, a technical or semi-technical area of recycling. And that is measuring how you’re doing, I suppose, the technical term or the actual term for this is doing a waste audit.


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So you know, I think the concept is if you can’t measure things, you can’t improve. And so we have to when you’re in the world of recycling and, say, you’re a business or even even a household and you want to know how you are doing as regards recycling and where you are. Basically, you have to have a starting position and then from that starting position, you can put in place some sensible strategies to, you know, minimise the stuff you’re doing wrong and to improve on what you’re doing right.


So fundamentally, the starting position and then as we go on, the way you measure any improvements or changes in performance is what’s called a waste audit. I suppose the word audit is coming from, you know, audit or financial statements – that concept whereby you’re checking something, you’re digging into the detail, you’re getting some sort of assurance about the actual reality of facts and figures.


Act 2: What Is A Waste Audit?


You’re not guessing or just, you know, putting your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind’s blowing. So how do you do a waste audit? So let’s take an example of, uh yeah, so a business. Let’s just take any business like a, you know, uh… let’s say, a cafe a very simple business that we all roughly understand. So how do you do a waste audit?


Fundamentally, you pick a day that is broad um you know not unusual for the waste that would be in the bins – a day that is um… standard let’s say and from that day, then you turn up. Obviously, a day that the bins haven’t been emptied. You’d like them to be full. So let’s say the day before the bins get emptied you turn up and basically. You get messy. You fundamentally empty the bins out onto the yard. Obviously, wear sensible clothing, you know, protective gear – you never know what’s in bins. So clearly you’re wearing you know protective masks maybe for any noxious smells.


You’re wearing sensible gloves that protect you from any cuts etc. So you’re taking precautions. But what fundamentally you do is you empty the bin out onto the tarmac onto the yard and you go through it and itemise – categorize and get as much detail as you know measurement as to what’s in the contents. So fundamentally you want to be counting, you know, the weight of that, so weighing it to work out the shear with this here with which probably the best this is like kilograms etc.


Act 3: What Is A Waste Audit?


It’s probably the best measure because clearly space or volume can be influenced by compaction, so weight is clearly the best method of doing this. And you know you measure it out and you start weighing what is in it, you know, food waste x per cent, um… you know, having a good scale system um cardboard x per cent commingled glass bottles etc x per cent and from that basis you, then you know, probably photograph everything documents everything and notes it up into a table, you know.


This is the process that large corporations do when they try to get, you know, a position as to where they are for recycling and, you know, it may surprise you what is actually going into your bins and what can actually be recycled. So that’s what you do, you dig across, you know, your the general waste bin any other bins you have, you know, any recycling bins. You dig into your cardboard bin, into your commingle the recycling bin and do the same purpose and then you tote up what you, where you’re sitting, you know, is your recycling percentage 50 60 80.


And you know how much recyclable material is actually ending up in your general waste and then clearly by just you know putting in place better systems better processes potentially an additional service. If you’re looking at, you know, you may need an organic waste bin. If a large amount of the waste in the business is organic food waste. Potentially, those things could help or, you know, a cardboard bin. If you don’t have a cardboard bin, that’s like it’s pretty simple, but it’s a bit… it’s a dirty job.


Act 4: What Is A Waste Audit?


And oftentimes it’s not what people think it will be. You can be surprised, like, realistically. I’ve been. Once it goes in the bin, you forget about it, you know. I think we all want to just move on and get on with their lives. We don’t want to be thinking about that aspect of things, but it is a good position in a large corporation.


You know, this can be done to save money, obviously, because recycling is cheaper relatively than general waste, and so corporations can save significant funds by simply recycling more. And of course, it’s good for their green credentials, and of course, it is naturally good for the environment. So you know this is what you do and then potentially you would come back and you do it again, you know, Depending on the project you’re running, it could be at a year’s time. It could be six months. I see and re-measure the same system and see where you sit.


So like, it’s not rocket science. It is, let’s be honest, it’s not pleasant work it’s not fun and it takes a bit of effort. But, it is something that you know is worthwhile if a company or even a household is really seeking to drive through recycling, you know. As always, you’ll find a blog about this topic on our website um how this is done in a bit more detail. And you know, we always obviously always promote, you know, the safety aspect to make sure that anybody doing this knows what they’re doing and has the correct, you know, health and safety, you know, materials and gloves etc. you know.


Act 5: What Is A Waste Audit?


I was going to say common sense and then the old saying is common sense is not that common but you know it’s um it is it’s because one thing you have to be aware you never know what’s in a bin people can just dump random things in there so you have to be safe and secure especially when things are bagged.


So you don’t know what’s inside the plastic bags um but yeah that’s where it is it’s really getting into the into you know the dirtier side of the business but with that, you will see real results and I suppose without sometimes getting your hands dirty you know sometimes you have to break eggs to make an omelette is the old saying and you have to get into that side of it sometimes to really get a real understanding and drive results.


And if you’re starting to measure it you know it gives people something to aim for and in larger corporations, you can compete for different branches or opera you know shops etc. can compete against each other so that’s how it works and uh yeah we’ll have some details about this on our website so if you want any further details to go there to waster.com.au today you in the meantime we’ll say have a great week and remember, Recycle: Don’t be a Waster!


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