So sometimes life happens. I fully intended to write a blog post last week and post about the new month of February. Or as I will now call it Janfebruary because it’s all blending into one month for me. Working fulltime and co-running a small business can become overwhelming when it gets to my busy time of year at the college. I am trying not to kick myself for not writing as much as I would like to, but the past two weeks have certainly been a challenge. How do you manage busy times of the year? I need to come up with an action plan to keep kicking butt!
February is a perfect time to do a waste audit. It comes after all the festivities of the holiday season have wrapped up and you are settled into a routine. Maybe you have broken a new year’s resolution or two, so it is time to get back on track. Waste audits allow you to become more conscious about the waste you produce in an average day, week or month. It becomes such a visual and visceral experience that gives you an appreciation for the world we live in – a linear economy that is built to produce so much stuff that we don’t know what to do with it all and it most likely ends up trashed.
Waste Audit How-To:
1. Choose the period of time
2. Choose the area
3. Setup collection bins
c) Food and pet waste
4. Add what you accumulate in the day to the appropriate bin
5. Put food and pet waste in the trash to be picked up as necessary (we won’t let the stink stay)
6. Lay out all other items when the time period is complete
7. Categorize into like items that makes the most sense to you (cardboard, plastic, glass, tetra containers, etc.)
8. Document (i.e. count & list) and photograph (even weigh it if you want!)
9. Remember to not change your behaviour! This is an assessment of a normalized week for the segmented area/time
Evaluate your waste audit
10. Calculate the diversion rate of recycling to garbage (if you are a nerd like me)
11. Post your findings to your accountabili-buddies – whether that be friends, family or social media
12. Determine where you can improve
Identify where your largest areas of trash stem from and ask yourself these questions:
1. Are there substitutions ie. package free?
2. Can you go without?
3. Is it preventable?
4. Is there a better packaged version?
5. Can you repurpose the waste?
6. Is there an easily identifiable area to tackle first? (i.e. coffee cups)
7. Is the trash coming locally or from larger corporations?
Remember that this is not easy and the waste each household creates is small in comparison to what Sarnia-Lambton collects as a whole. The world is not built to make things like this easy for people because they want us to consume more. It most certainly is a liberating experience; however, how can you rely less on corporations to fulfill your needs and rely more on yourself to make better decisions, eat healthier food, or just empower yourself. Most importantly, even if we are a small fraction of the problem, we can certainly be a part of the solution!
Let us know if you're doing a waste audit and how it's going!