5A. Community Waste Audit


Explore the waste your school/class 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 24hrs.

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

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


  1. Designing the audit 
    1. As a class or school decide which bins to use for your 24 hours of collection and where you will perform your audit. Make sure to consult and inform your custodian of your plans. You will need an open space that can get a bit messy. A tarp may be used to mitigate this. 
    2. Collect Materials and assign roles.
      1. Safety gloves (latex, gardening etc.), paper/pencils for recording data, camera opt., weight scale.
      2. Have students sign up and delegate roles involved such as: sorters and recorders etc.
  2. Execute your audit 
    1. Empty your bins for collection and alert school/class of your collection bins 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. How much waste was produced and by how many people using those bins?
    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 school/class 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.

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