How to Conduct a Waste Audit for Your Business
Have you ever wondered about the amount of trash your local business or organisation might be generating every day?
While you think on that, also consider the disposal process that is not only costing your business but negatively impacting our environment. With landfill waste sites containing a vast quantity of toxins and harmful greenhouse gases, not only can a proper waste management guide help save company profits but at the same time help reduce the negative impact these sites have on our earth.
That’s why we suggest running a waste audit, as it arms your business with the compressive data and insights needed to build effective waste management and recycling policy.
So, What Does Waste Audit Mean?
A waste audit is a physical and methodical analysis of all the waste within your workplace. It helps identify the cost disposal, how it can be reduced and as well as how to gain additional revenue for your business through repurposing or recycling your waste.
Why is Waste Audit Important?
Conducting waste audits for your local business can help to minimise the organisation’s negative impact on the environment and make use of better alternatives to waste disposal. Here are a few ways a waste audit can bring about innovative changes for your business:
- The waste audit shows all storage, collection, disposable and transportation of waste.
- Through this data, your company can figure out the most effective and sustainable waste management policy.
- This helps the business discover hidden revenue streams and potential savings from the generated recyclable waste.
- Through this audit, in-depth knowledge is gained on eco-friendly waste management systems, offering the opportunity to establish your company as eco-friendly to attract customers in the future.
Steps to Conduct Waste Audit
A successful waste audit takes a lot of prior and ongoing preparations. So consider these following steps to perform a waste audit for your local business:
Step- 1: Have a clear vision and objective
The foremost thing before running a waste audit is to understand why you’re planning for a waste audit in the first place. Is it only to bring profit out of your waste material or it’s much bigger than your local business benefits?
All the participants and coordinators involved in the waste audit program should have a clear purpose and detailed understanding for a better economic and environmental outcome. You may take help from regional waste education officers for more insights and inspections.
Step- 2: Select the participants and study field
For the best outcome of the audit, select two or more representatives from each department of your organisation- production, management, research and development etc. Because every department is directly or indirectly responsible for the waste stream of your business. Whether you want to include a third-party audit team or not, make sure you have a collaborative team with a good number of volunteers on your own who are directly associated with your business. Consider an expert inspection and observation throughout the process as well. Include your outside custodial staffs if you have any, to empty the trash bins beforehand.
Next, make sure your audit date and study field is confidential to the non-participants, by signing up a confidential agreement. In that way, the auditing team can observe the usual waste production and generation of your business and come up with the most effective solution. Typical workdays are the perfect days to run the audit.
Step- 3: Get the necessary equipment
When you are done with choosing the most convenient place, dates and potential participants- you can get ready for the hands-on approach. Make sure your participants are involved with the waste audit, wearing protective aprons, and protective gears. Here are some necessary gears you’ll need-
- Latex or non-latex rubber gloves, goggles, face mask, durable tongs, aprons- For participants
- Labelled boxes/ bins- for sorting the trash categories
- Trash grabbers/ pickers
- Clipboards- for recording the findings
- Large containers for disposing of waste
- A portable scale for measuring large amounts and holding the containers
- Handwashing station
Step- 4: Sort the collected waste by category
Collected waste should be sorted by the source and the type of waste. Here are some categories you can primarily make-
- Liquid waste- organic liquids, waste detergents, polluted water
- Organic/compostable waste- food waste, rotten meat, garden waste, dead leaves, grass clippings
- Solid rubbish- plastic waste, metallic waste, ceramic and glass waste, paper waste
- Hazardous waste- chemically reactive substances, flammable substance, corrosive substances
- Recyclable waste- This type of waste should be sorted from solid rubbish. Plastics, glass, cardboard, textiles, electronics, metal etc.
On the final day of the waste audit, make the average percentages of every type of waste found throughout the process. Measure all the trash category to get a baseline of how much trash is generated on a weekly or monthly basis. Label each trash bin and document the sources of your trash findings. The sources will give you a precise estimation and the most waste generating departments.
Step- 5: Analyse the results and findings
Once the waste audit is completed, you will probably be surprised by the outcome of your company’s waste habits. Consider comparing the amount of waste in each category and the sources. Present all the findings and comparative data in a written report. This report will help you determine the renewable, compostable and biodegradable resources out of the trash that has been misused all this time. Establish the benchmark by identifying the waste diversion opportunities and quantifying waste streams.
The waste audit result will help you determine ways to improve your current waste management system better than ever. You can consider hiring a professional recycling service for your business, for conducting an efficient waste audit for your business.