What is a Waste Audit?
A waste audit is a survey of regular waste composition produced at a facility. Waste Audit benefits are huge!
It provides property managers and tenants of a building with a detailed understanding of problem areas especially within their building and it even provides you with a thorough analysis of the composition of your waste.
Control Your Waste With the Help of Waste Audits
It is certain that in life we will all continue to generate waste, but being able to control the amount you generate, is what matters!
The saying goes you can’t control what you cannot measure. This goes for the amount of waste you generate! The only way to control your waste, so you know how much waste you’re generating is by carrying out a waste audit.
A waste audit will look at the current waste and recycling programs you have in place and it will let you know if things are going well or otherwise and the earlier you start auditing your waste the better.
You certainly don’t want to be paying too much for garbage disposal if you can actually divert a lot of waste from landfill and recycle or even reuse them!
A waste audit will tell you exactly the types of materials you generate and it will also show you areas that are contributing a lot or very little to your garbage. Do you know whether your staff bring garbage from home to dispose of at work? Well, maybe not, but an audit will reveal this to you!
A waste audit helps characterize and quantify waste streams and it also tells you how well your business is doing. For example with the help of a waste audit, you are able to tell what types and amount of materials – whether cans, bottles, plastics, paper/ cardboard or organics and your building generates.
Waste Audit Companies Can Help You
Yes! There are companies that will happily sort through your garbage and recycling, weigh them and report their findings.
As the owner of a building, I understand if you are not ready to look through your buildings’ garbage; that is why a company like Green Forever Environmental exists! They will sort through the waste materials you generate, identify problem areas and also help you address all those issues you may have with your programs.
Green Forever Environmental conducts waste audits for schools, office buildings, hotels, hospitals, restaurants, shopping complexes, shopping establishments and even manufacturing establishments!
Do You Need a Waste Audit?
Well, the simple answer is Yes! Every business needs to audit their waste regularly. I would also encourage you as an individual to have a look at your household waste and see areas where you can reduce the amount you generate.
Waste Audits not only reveal the quantity of your waste and recycling; they also show you exactly what you are throwing out, how much material you are reusing or how much you are recycling!
As the owner of a building or a Facility Manager, it is important to audit your garbage regularly – at least once a year. I guarantee waste audits will reveal problem areas and even reduce spending which means you get to save money and the environment at the same time! Its a win win!
In fact specific buildings in Ontario Canada are required by law to carry out regular audits and source separate their waste. There are also fines in place for buildings that do not comply.
It just shows that waste audits are to be taken seriously. Also, in the USA, there are regulations in place that require specific buildings to conduct regular waste audits and source separate their waste.
Waste Audit Benefits
1. Cost Savings
On completion of a waste audit, you are able to see what program works and which does not work. Maybe its just a matter of reeducating your staff by telling them not to put materials in the wrong bin.
Waste audits give you the opportunity to improve your programs or even establish new recycling streams. Your waste audit team can develop a plan to capture more food waste if a lot was found in the waste. Your organization may want to establish an organics program and eliminate that waste completely.
2. Clear Identification of Materials Generated
A waste audit will clearly show you the types of materials you generate in form of pictures, tables and graphs. In fact, it will make you so knowledgeable that when you conduct your next audit, you will know what to watch out for.
For instance, if your first waste audit revealed that a lot of cans and bottles were found in your garbage, you will want to know if this issue has been addressed and the only way to know for sure is to have another waste audit conducted.
Of course, before you carry out the second waste audit, all staff must have been informed of the results from the previous waste audit and the issues addressed.
3. Waste Audits Help Unlock Missing Revenue
Yes! Did you know you can unlock missing revenue by carrying out waste audits regularly? Waste Audits can uncover problem areas where perhaps a lot of mixing of material streams happen regularly due to lack of appropriate bins for collecting garbage and recycling separately.
Depending on the audit team, you may have to reduce your bin size or simply move bins from one area to another area that needs it. You may also need to adjust your service pick up dates so that garbage and recycling are picked up efficiently. This will result in huge money savings for you.
4. Waste Audits Encourage You To Update Your Recycling Goals
Communication is very important so everyone around you knows what is regarded as” waste” and what is considered “recycling”.
For instance, your waste audit may have revealed that there were huge volumes of electronic waste in the garbage; this means you would need to take an important approach by reducing the amount of waste you generate – by recycling electronics.
You can start an e waste drive whereby your staff can drop off e waste (at the lobby for instance) for recycling.
5. Waste Audits Can Help You Track Success
Now, your first waste audit will serve as the basis and future audit results can be compared to see how well your building is doing. This is why its important to continue conducting waste audits regularly.
A good example from Green forever Environmental blog explained how a building was able to reduce the amount of recyclable materials thrown out as waste just by comparing the results from a recent audit with a previous one. Indeed, a waste audit will reveal how many materials you throw out hence setting you up for success!
6. Waste Audits Can Help You Maintain Compliance
Specific organizations in the Industries, Commercial and Institutional (IC&I) sectors are required by law to conduct waste audits in Ontario, Canada and even in the United States!
Waste Audits also form part of the requirements for certification standards like the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design also known as LEED.
7. Pollution Reduction and Natural resource Conservation
A well managed program should be able to have signage on bins so employees know what material goes where. Placing bins in strategic spots around your organization will make recycling convenient. This will also lead to decrease in the amount of materials that end up in landfill.
Discouraging plastic bags and encouraging reusable shopping bags will minimize the amount that ends up in our environment especially in our oceans. These best practices will in turn reduce pollution on land, air and water, conserve natural resources and reduce global warming.
The benefits of waste audits are huge! Its better to stop guessing and find out what materials you are actually throwing out. You may be discarding what you should be recycling but the only way to take control of your waste stream is by conducting waste audits regularly.
The corona virus pandemic should not hinder any company from carrying out waste audits. As a property manager or facility manager, if you’re going to use the services of a waste and environmental company or any other company, ensure they are taking precautions to limit the spread of Covid 19.
Ask if the waste audit team will be wearing personal protective equipment from top to bottom. You know what I mean – tyvek suits, face masks, shields, gloves, safety boots.
Simply put – a waste audit should be able to reveal the types of materials your building or household generates; from organics, cans, bottles, plastics, paper, to cardboard, name it; your waste audit will alert you. In fact, conducting regular waste audits will lead to cost savings because you become aware of the items you purchase.
Keeping your garbage separate from recycling and implementing the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) will help your building achieve those awesome zero waste goals!
Whether you are a Property Manager of an office building, a restaurant, school, hospital, hotel or shopping complex a waste audit will help you.
Have you conducted waste audits in the past or are you just hearing about it? Would you love to keep garbage costs low by conducting waste audits regularly? Please leave your comments below.