2A. Personal Waste Audit


Explore the waste your household creates, and what improvements could be made to reduce your waste.
Choose to take a look at what has already accumulated or try collecting for just 24hrs.


Get familiar with what is or isn't recyclable in your community by exploring Recycle BC's resources including their PDF printout. As well as Recycle BC's home recycling resources.

Find out where the closest Return It location is to you for any refundable containers found.

Find out some of the items commonly contaminating BC Recycling in this CBC News segment:  

  1. Designing the audit 
    1. Decide which bins to use for your 24 hours of collection and where you will perform your audit. You will need an open space that can get a bit messy. A tarp may be used to mitigate this. 
    2. Collect Materials 
      1. Safety gloves (latex, gardening etc.), paper/pencils for recording data, camera opt., weight scale opt. 
  2. Execute your audit 
    1. Empty your bin(s) for collection and alert household of your collection bin for the next 24 hours. 
    2. After 24 hours has passed, collect the waste and recycling from designated bins. 
    3. Conduct the sorting! *Be sure to keep the products from the waste bin(s) and the recycling bin(s) separate. * 
    4. As you sort the waste and recycling, keep track of the most common items found in your sample. 
    5. Once you have separated each bin into the four categories, weigh and record each subcategory. 
    6. Calculate your results. 
    7. Dispose of waste accordingly and clean up! 
  3. Discussion/reflection questions.
    1. What patterns/behaviours did your data show?
    2. What were the most common types of waste you found?
    3. Were there any items that were in the wrong bin? Ex. Recyclable items in the trash.
    4. What easy steps could your household adopt to improve/limit your trash and waste?
  4. Post your group's or personal thoughts in the form of a blog (Please format discussion titles as follows; Activity Number: Blog Title, Your city, and your name(s)). Afterwards, check back and comment on at least 2 other blog posts.

Learning Objectives

  • Contribute to care for self, others, community, and world through individual or collaborative approaches. 
  • Generate and introduce new or refined ideas when problem solving. 
  • Contribute to finding solution s to problems at a local and/or global level through inquiry. 
  • Communicate scientific ideas, claims, information, and perhaps a suggested course of action.... 
  • Assess how prevailing conditions and the actions of individuals or groups affect events, decisions, or developments. 
  • Assess how underlying condition s and the actions of individuals or groups influence events, decisions, or developments, and analyze multiple consequences 

Continue to Watch: Guest Expert Allen Langdon »