Zero waste practitioners–from neighbourhoods to cities–regularly conduct waste audits to monitor the types and volume of waste generated in a particular area. These systematic exercises help decision makers and communities to develop resource management plans which include at-source segregation, comprehensive composting and recycling schemes, residual waste reduction and product redesign. The data generated will also help city officials design collection systems and schedules, decide what policies to enact, identify what kind of collection vehicles to use, how many workers to employ, and what kind of technology to invest in, among others. All these components lead to our zero waste goal: reduce the amount of resources disposed in landfills and incinerators to ZERO.
In addition to identifying the most common types of waste, audits can also cover the identification of brands and companies that use disposable, low-value or non-recyclable packaging for their products.
On September 11-20, 2017, environmental organizations working against toxics and pollution issues in the Philippines and key members of the #breakfreefromplastic Movement conducted a series of simultaneous daily activities in Freedom Island, Manila bay – a Ramsar site and protected area that is a critical marine and bird habitat.
These activities included a coastal cleanup, a waste audit and a brand audit. Despite its importance, tons of trash, particularly plastic waste, end up along Freedom Island’s beaches everyday. Through these activities, #breakfreefromplastic aims to gather important data to call for innovations in product packaging and waste management to ensure that nothing ends up in our oceans, landfills and other disposal facilities.
(detailed methodology and materials available here)
Clean up / Segregation Segment
Waste Pickers clean-up an 20-meter-wide segment of the designated station, to start with..
Waste Pickers are divided into: a) those collecting ALL BRANDED items, and b) those collecting NON-BRANDED items
Waste Pickers collecting non-branded items skips the Brand Audit segment and proceeds directly to Waste Audit Segment
Brand Audit Segment
1. Assemble three teams: 1) Household products, 2) Personal products and 3) Food packaging.
Each team is composed of Sorters – People who sorts waste by brand, Recorder - Person who fills in the respective Brand Audit Forms, and Collector - Person who places the brands in respective sacks labeled by Manufacturer.
All collectors endorse the sacks to the Waste Audit Team so that they can proceed with the Waste Audit. For the waste audit, it is important that waste from different brands are not mixed, but stay segregated by brands.
Collectors submit Filled up Forms to designated Brand Audit Segment Lead
Waste Audit Segment
Wastes are classified into 19 types and the required Waste Audit Form filled up
Designated recorder submits filled up Forms to Waste Audit Segment Lead: Mother Earth / Eco Waste / GAIA
After the waste audit has been conducted Brand Collectors should ensure that the brands are returned to their respective Manufacturer Sacks, Sealed, and stored safely as this is the primary evidence for the Brand Audit. Other waste which are not branded shall be disposed of safely.
Final recording of audit data
All of the results are recorded and tabulated in the final Waste Audit and Brand Audit Tally Forms.
The final results of the brand audits are then made public (BFFP members may submit the data to the plasticpolluters.org contacts for verification and upload on the plasticpolluters.org website).