Home Waste Audit

Want to challenge yourself to reduce household waste and increase your waste literacy?

Try our Home Waste Audit!

The Home Waste Audit is designed to increase waste literacy among participants, particularly regarding local waste management systems and how local residential waste impacts the global waste footprint. Residential waste is an important piece of the plastic cycle, and how we produce and dispose of our waste affects the amount of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems.

Objectives:

  1. Learn about the waste stream in the municipality where you live. i.e., learn what bins you have (e.g., recycling, landfill, organics) and what goes in each of them.
  2. Decrease your waste footprint and divert waste away from landfill by procuring and using products that you can reuse recycle.  

Ultimately, throughout this project, you will be tracking your waste with a goal to reduce the amount heading to the landfill.

Interested in participating?

It’s easy, all you need is access to the internet, some paper (bonus if you use scrap paper), a pencil/pen, and a healthy dash of motivation. Make sure to watch our Introductory Webinar (below) for instructions and background on WHY to take part.

How it works:

The Home Waste Audit takes four weeks and can be done anytime, either by yourself or with a group of friends, family or colleagues. We provide the datasheets and instructions to log your waste and four short online surveys to help track your waste literacy and behaviour.

Results and Outcomes

Our Home Waste Audit demonstrates how waste management differs between municipalities, provinces and countries, and how different people generate and dispose of their waste. It measures how much waste we divert from the landfill, and characterizes how our waste changes over the 4-week timeframe. Ultimately, the Home Waste Audit asks questions that help us understand whether we are seeding behaviours that stick and help build the pathways for a long-term impact.

Summary of Home Waste Audit Results – January 2021
  • Most participants underestimated their weekly waste prior to participating in the Home Waste Audit.
  • On average, households decreased the number of items in both the landfill and recycling waste stream throughout the 4-week audit.
  • Throughout the audit, the most common material within landfill was plastic. The most common landfill items were plastic packaging and dental floss.
  • The most common material within recycling waste was paper, with the most common items being the packaging and toilet paper rolls.
  • The top three most difficult changes made were buying items with no or less packaging and avoiding single-use plastics.
  • Most participants kept some or all changes made throughout the Home Waste Audit.
  • Participating in a Home Waste Audit is an effective way to learn about local waste streams, increase waste literacy and initiate behaviour change.

Home Waste Audit full report

Webinar Recordings:

2021 Home Waste Audit
  • Webinar 1 (Jan 12, 2021): Intro
  • Webinar 2 (Feb 23, 2021): Results

The Home Waste Audit was created in collaboration with Rochman Lab Technician and Trash Team volunteer Hannah De Frond. She received her MSc in Marine Environmental Management from the University of York, UK. Her work currently focuses on testing and improving methods used to identify and analyze microplastics from environmental samples, and the harmonization of these methods within microplastics research.