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Waste Audit Toolkit

Waste Audit Toolkit

Not only will a waste audit help you gain a better understanding of where your organization currently is in terms of waste management, but it will also help you clearly see opportunities for efficiencies and improvements – both for the environment and your bottom line.

The audit involves collecting, measuring and monitoring all waste for three consecutive days as well as taking a look at other practices such as waste hauling schedules and bin placement. The information gathered will help determine your current diversion rate and identify areas for improvement. You’ll find everything you need to conduct your waste audit in the following PDF, and of course, if you have any questions, we’re always happy to help.

Conduct your own waste audit

Step 1: Visual Waste Audit

Conduct our Visual Waste Audit to assess where you can save on resources.Download the PDF template and follow these steps:

  1. Collect all garbage in clear bags from all bins throughout your facility for a period of 3 typical consecutive days (not during special events, etc.). Put bags in a central location and label each with the date, location and waste stream collected e.g. recycling, compost or garbage.
  2. Weigh each bag and record.
  3. Perform a visual audit on each bag of waste and use the Visual Waste Audit template below to record the contents of the bag, including the percentage of stream contaminants (anything that shouldn’t be in that stream).
  4. Take pictures of contaminants to communicate with your organization so that everyone can work on throwing their waste into the proper stream.

Step 2: Calculate your diversion rate

You now have a very detailed picture of what is happening within different areas of your business for analysis at a later time.

To calculate your diversion rate, you’ll need the total weight of recycling, compost and garbage collected by your organization and the following formula:

Once you have your current diversion rate you can set diversion rate targets for your organization and implement best practices such as ensuring you communicate your program throughout your organization, use clear instructional graphics to increase user adoption rates and making sure your custodial staff are on board with your program. These help ensure your program constantly evolves and improves on your journey to the ultimate goal of zero waste.

Step 3: Waste Pick-up Analysis

Waste Pick-up Analysis

Considerable savings can be made on your waste hauling contract by simply taking a look at how often it’s being collected and changing your collection schedule to meet your demands.

Front End Loader Analysis

Monitor how full your Front Loader bin is at the end of each day using a chart like the ones below to determine whether you can save money on waste hauling fees. If your bins are being emptied when they’re not full, adjust your waste collection schedule accordingly.



In the example above, the organization was having daily pickups whether their containers were full or not. By simply changing their pickup schedule to when their bins were actually full, the company saved 43% in hauling fees. Here’s how:

Average pick up @ $25

Before: 7 x $25 = $175/wk = $9,100/ year
After: 3 x $25 = $75/wk = $3,900 / year
Savings: $3,90 per year (43% saving)

Step 4: Saving Money

Paper and cardboard are worth more than you think! Recyclable materials are commodities so find out their market value in your region and use it as leverage in waste hauler contract negotiations. You can also bale cardboard or paper yourself and sell it directly to the OCC or paper mill.

Here’s the average price of some common recyclables in North America:

*Source: North Carolina Department of Environment and National Resources

Want to find out how you can save money on your waste hauling? We can help.