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Step 1. Assess your waste stream and establish a baseline.
Before you begin a new recycling or waste prevention program or tailor your existing one, it’s important to gather baseline data about your waste stream. This data will help you determine where to focus your efforts, and it will help you measure your progress later. Here are a few ways you can collect data:
Conduct a waste audit. Solid Waste can coordinate a waste audit of your organization's garbage. Audits are a great way to find out exactly what you are throwing away, and how much of it can be diverted from the landfill.
Conduct a facility walk-thru. A walk-thru looks at where your facility creates waste, and how that waste is thrown out or recycled. Use this checklist to conduct a walk-thru.
Identify waste generation sources with this handy worksheet.
Review your garbage bill. Track the amount you spend on garbage and recycling services each month to get a better estimate of how much garbage and recycling you generate. Your bin size and pickup frequency can also help you determine this.
Be sure to check your garbage or recycle bins just before they’re picked up. Are they only half-full? You may be paying for more frequent service or larger bins than you need. Contact your hauler to make any changes to your service levels.
Review supply orders. Track the amount of stuff coming into your organization before it becomes part of the waste stream. Check with your suppliers to see if they can send you a spreadsheet that tracks your purchases. The county’s supplier, Office Depot, sends an easy-to-understand report quarterly. See an example.
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