How to Perform Your Own Waste Check

Table of Contents

The main goal of the waste check is to raise your awareness of the types of rubbish you produce in your everyday life. Sometimes called a “waste audit”, is the first step to understanding how you can create a lifestyle with less waste!

There’s no ‘right way’ to do a waste check but here are some suggestions: 

What You’ll Need

  • Two separate containers for collecting rubbish and recyclables, or three if you want to separate food/messy waste
  • A place to record data, i.e. a scrap piece of paper, a note on your phone, a spreadsheet, or our downloadable PDF – whatever works for you!
  • Optional: a pair of gloves and cardboard/plastic sheet for the ground and weighing scales if you want to weigh your waste

Step 1: Collect your waste

Hold on to everything you throw away during the day. It helps to carry a small container with you to store your waste in.

Tip: Don’t change your normal habits during your waste check. You want an honest list so that you can identify ways to produce less waste. 

Step 2: Record it

At the end of each day, spend a few minutes writing down what is in your pile. Separate items into rubbish, recyclables and compost piles. Our waste check form may help! Here’s an example:

Either throw the items in the correct bin after recording or collect them until the end of the week so you can clearly visualise the amount of waste produced.

Tip: If you lack time at the end of each day then simply collect all waste and spend time on day seven separating and recording it. 

Record as you go – Don’t want to collect your waste? List items on a sheet and tally them up as you throw them into the rubbish or recycling bin.

You may prefer to take a photo every day or weigh it all at the end of the week, or a combination. Do whatever works best for you!

Step 3: Keep It Up!

Record as much waste as you can over the week so you get a good representation of your waste. Be honest and feel good for taking a close look at it!

Step 4: Review it and make a switch

You now have a pile and/or list – great, this is the perfect starting point to make some waste-free choices. 

Take a look at the main culprits in your pile/on your list. Can you choose at least one thing to avoid for the next week and make one sustainable swap? 

For example, avoid buying packets of individually wrapped sweets and make a sustainable swap from milk bottles to refilling at a local refill station.

We may have the perfect action on the app to help you build these sustainable habits, such as Reusable facial wipes, Natural dental care, Reusable cups and Use refillable water bottles

Will you share a picture of your week’s waste with the Ailuna Community and on social media? #habitswithmpact

Tip: Retake this action in one, two, or six months to compare your waste habits.

Tips & Tricks

Here are some handy hints and tips to help you on your way. 

Remembering to hold onto your waste

It can be hard to break the habit of throwing things in the bin, especially when you’re out and about. Try some of these solutions:

  • Carry a jar or bag with you to collect the day’s waste. Clean it at the end of each day to avoid it getting smelly
  • Move your home dustbin to a different location or simply pop a note above the bin
  • Invite friends or family to take this action with you! Starting a group chat and sharing your experiences makes it more motivating

Sorting through waste 

It can feel gross to sort through your waste. Here are some tips on how to make it feel less icky:

  • Use a piece of cardboard or plastic to protect your floor
  • If your bag or jar starts to smell from holding onto waste, try sprinkling some bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) into it, let it sit, then wash and air dry
  • Instead of storing your waste in a long cylindrical bin, use a short and wide container. Then, as you toss things throughout the day, make sure you can see all of your rubbish. When the time comes to make a list or snap a photo, you won’t have to touch anything!

Know what is recyclable

It can often be confusing as to what’s recyclable and what isn’t. It gets even more complicated when different areas recycle different things! Here are some ways to cut through the confusion:

  • Check your local authority’s website. They should list what’s kerbside recyclable and address commonly questioned pieces of waste
  • Use one of these websites – Recycle Now (UK), Recycle Coach (USA), (Denmark), Mülltrennung wirkt (Germany), Recycling Near You (Australia)
  • Take the Ace your recycling action 
  • Ask the Ailuna Community – don’t be shy! It’s full of like-minded people who may have once sought the answers to the questions you have

 Let’s get started!

The Ailuna team is always available to help you out if you have any questions, hop onto the Community page to ask us questions or see how other users have handled this action. Good luck, you’ve got this!