BP05: Waste Audit & Planning

Official language

Perform an annual waste audit to understand the building’s waste composition and opportunities to increase recycling and other forms of diversion. This can be self performed or contracted. Meet with waste haulers and appropriate vendors to review performance and plan improvements, and finalize the plan at the Annual Sustainability Planning Meeting.

Implementation Requirements

  1. Perform an annual waste audit, as summarized below. Often the waste audit is performed by your waste hauler, and can be included in your waste hauler contract. There are no specific criteria regarding who performs the audit.

    Minimum requirements for the annual waste audit:
    1. Include the entire regular building waste stream in the audit, both materials placed in the trash (for landfill disposal) and in recycling/composting.
    2. The waste collected for the audit should be from a representative time frame, and requires coordination with janitorial staff. Typically, this should include all of the waste generated over at least a 24-hour time frame, on a day of normal building operations.
    3. Do not notify building occupants prior to conducting the audit, so as to get a clear picture of waste habits under typical conditions. You may wish to contact tenant representatives or office managers to check if any unusual activities affecting waste are scheduled for the week of the audit.
    4. Separate the materials in each stream into key material types, and measure the amounts by weight or volume (select either unit of measurement and use consistently). You do not need to sort wet waste (food or restroom waste), but the weight or volume must be recorded.
    5. Analyze the audit results to look for recycling, composting and source-reduction opportunities. Assess the amount of recyclables placed in the trash, as well as upstream purchasing and source reduction opportunities for both recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Look for evidence that building occupants may not understand the building’s recycling/composting program, and improve your waste management and communication strategy accordingly.
    6. Summarize the results of the audit and opportunities for improvement in a summary waste audit report.
  2. In advance of the Annual Sustainability Planning Meeting, meet with the waste hauler to review performance and identify waste diversion and source reduction improvements that can be considered in the annual planning meeting.

Submittal Requirements

  • Waste audit report
  • Summary of the current-year waste optimization measures considered and the implementation plan for feasible improvements. This may be included in the Annual Sustainability Planning Meeting Report. (See "Annual Sustainability Planning Report Template")
See all forum discussions about this Best Practice »

BIT User’s viewpoint

Frequently asked questions

Online resources

Implementation toolkit

Perform an annual waste audit to understand the building’s waste composition and opportunities to increase recycling and other forms of diversion. This can be self performed or contracted. Meet with waste haulers and appropriate vendors to review performance and plan improvements, and finalize the plan at the Annual Sustainability Planning Meeting.

Implementation Requirements

  1. Perform an annual waste audit, as summarized below. Often the waste audit is performed by your waste hauler, and can be included in your waste hauler contract. There are no specific criteria regarding who performs the audit.

    Minimum requirements for the annual waste audit:
    1. Include the entire regular building waste stream in the audit, both materials placed in the trash (for landfill disposal) and in recycling/composting.
    2. The waste collected for the audit should be from a representative time frame, and requires coordination with janitorial staff. Typically, this should include all of the waste generated over at least a 24-hour time frame, on a day of normal building operations.
    3. Do not notify building occupants prior to conducting the audit, so as to get a clear picture of waste habits under typical conditions. You may wish to contact tenant representatives or office managers to check if any unusual activities affecting waste are scheduled for the week of the audit.
    4. Separate the materials in each stream into key material types, and measure the amounts by weight or volume (select either unit of measurement and use consistently). You do not need to sort wet waste (food or restroom waste), but the weight or volume must be recorded.
    5. Analyze the audit results to look for recycling, composting and source-reduction opportunities. Assess the amount of recyclables placed in the trash, as well as upstream purchasing and source reduction opportunities for both recyclable and non-recyclable materials. Look for evidence that building occupants may not understand the building’s recycling/composting program, and improve your waste management and communication strategy accordingly.
    6. Summarize the results of the audit and opportunities for improvement in a summary waste audit report.
  2. In advance of the Annual Sustainability Planning Meeting, meet with the waste hauler to review performance and identify waste diversion and source reduction improvements that can be considered in the annual planning meeting.

Submittal Requirements

  • Waste audit report
  • Summary of the current-year waste optimization measures considered and the implementation plan for feasible improvements. This may be included in the Annual Sustainability Planning Meeting Report. (See "Annual Sustainability Planning Report Template")

BIT User experts

Chris Grace


CEO

Marisa Heller

Diversion First

See all forum discussions about this best practice » Subscribe to new discussions about Waste Audit & Planning