Home Waste Audit

With a little planning and some determination you can reduce the amount and the toxicity of waste you produce while increasing your recycling. You'll quickly become an expert waste watcher! Below are guidelines for a "walk through waste audit." The questions will help you become aware of your purchasing habits, as well as your disposal habits.

Answer These Questions

On average, how much trash does your household generate each week?
You can measure by weight or volume. Volume is usually easier.
How many bags or cans of trash are set out each week?

What's in there? Take a look. You may not want to sort through the trash at the end of each week, since it will have time to "marinate." As an alternative you can record what you place in the trash during the week. Look at each "disposal site" separately. For example:
Kitchen - approximate amounts: of food waste, plastic packaging, plastic bags, bottles, cans etc.
Garage or Store Room - paints, motor oil, pesticides, etc,
Bedrooms - newspapers, magazines, plastics, etc.
Home Office/Family Room - paper, plastic wraps, cans, etc.
Bathroom - containers, disposable razors, packaging, etc.

Decide What Changes Need To Be Made. For Example...

Are there a lot of disposables in the kitchen or bathroom trash? (Paper towels, plastic or paper cups, plates, disposable razors) Could some be replaced by durable items?

  1. You may not want to completely eliminate the use of paper towels in your kitchen but perhaps you could cut back.
  2. Keep attractive cloth for drying hands while still using paper for cleaning up spills.
  3. Use disposable cups during the cold and flu season and switch back to a reusable cup for most of the year.

How much of your trash is packaging? Studies indicate that packaging accounts for 1/3 of household trash. Perhaps you could:

  1. Purchase items with less packaging or no packaging. Buy "supersized" for items you routinely purchase.
  2. Buy fruit loose, or in a bag that you are reusing.
  3. You might need to purchase over packaged items occasionally if you have a very specific need or to get a real bargain, but as routine, excessive packaging should be avoided. Look for packaging that is recyclable in your curbside collection program. Look for packaging that is made with recycled materials.
  4. There are recycled tissue products and recycled paper readily available in local stores.
  5. A wide variety of detergents and hair care products are packaged in recycled plastic that can be recycled again.
  6. Read labels and consider the packaging as well as the product you choose to purchase.

For further information call:

CMCMUA (609)465-9026 ext. 1270
Email: Linda S. Crumbock