How to conduct a waste audit

By Brightmark October 25th, 2022
Reading time: 2 minutes

Do you know how much you’re throwing away?

As long as our trash cans fill up, so do our landfills and oceans. But once it’s out of sight, is your garbage out of mind? Try spending a week paying attention to your waste.

If you want to cut waste, you need to know how much you’re throwing away in the first place.


How to start your waste audit:


Create a spreadsheet with four categories: landfill, recycling, organic waste, hazardous waste

Landfill: trash that you can’t recycle according to your local standards and can’t go into the “organic waste” category

Recycling: only the recyclables that your local facility accepts

Organic waste: check with your local facility’s yard/food waste standards for what applies here, but it’s generally garden/yard waste and plant-based food scraps

Hazardous waste: car oil, batteries, anything that requires unique collection by your waste collection facility

One week: For one week, list and tally each item as you throw it away


At the end of the week, review your waste audit results. Ask yourself:

  • What are you mostly throwing out?
  • Are there ways you could’ve reused or reduced your waste?


About Make Your Mark

We’re on a mission to Reimagine Waste. We create circular solutions that solve some of the world’s most pressing waste challenges. Our Make Your Mark page is designed to educate and inform those who seek to get involved by reducing consumption or recycling materials properly. We envision a world without waste, and this is our way of bringing you along.

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Sustainability tip: Cut back on waste this holiday season by shopping light and shopping sustainable.
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