Sustainability 101

Trash Talking – Waste Audits Tell All

Every company or building should listen to what their trash is telling them at least once a year by conducting a waste audit. Great Forest has conducted waste audits not only in office buildings, but also in schools, universities, VA hospitals and in NYC’s Penn Station. A comprehensive waste audit will provide a detailed account of what is going into your trash. Waste audits are key for a number of reasons:

  • They help you create effective green programs. The only way to find out what you are “wasting” is to look in the trash. One company decided to implement a compost program after a waste audit revealed a large percentage of their trash was made up of food scraps. As a result, their waste load is now 25% lighter. Another company decided to eliminate disposable coffee cups after a waste audit revealed that nearly 30% of their waste volume was made up of coffee cups.
  • They help you save money. If your audit turns up a huge percentage of recyclables in the trash, you can take corrective steps, either by refining your recycling program or through recycling education. Less recyclables in the trash will probably reduce waste hauling fees, and could possibly earn you money.
  • They help you meet metrics targets and other certification standards. A waste audit can help set a baseline and create benchmarks year after year so you can gauge the progress and effectiveness of your recycling programs. One large financial institution began a series of recycling training sessions after a waste audit revealed that 22% of their trash consisted of recyclables.  A follow-up waste audit a year later showed that the amount of recyclables in their waste stream had dropped to 15%, meeting their goals for improvement. A bonus – the audit results were a morale booster for their employees, who were delighted to learn that their efforts were making a measurable difference.

Learn more about waste audits and assessments

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