Evaluating waste wise events

Carry out a waste audit – as soon as possible

If possible, carry out the audit on the day of the event to avoid waste decomposing and becoming a health hazard. The aim of the audit is to find out how much waste was diverted from landfill (in cubic metres). Other key performance indicators are

  • contamination in recycling bins
  • recyclables in the wrong recycling bin
  • recyclables in waste bins
  • litter.

(See Understand your litter problem for a litter count form.)

1 Select a sample of recycling and waste bins

Use the following guide to determine the number of bins to audit

Number of
waste bins used

Number to be audited

Number of
recycling bins used

Number to be audited

< 50

5

< 50

5

50–100

8

50–100

8

100–200

10

100–200

10

200–500

15

200–500

15

500–1000

20

500–1000

20

Try to audit bins from across your event site based on a representative sample relative to the bins’ placement.

2 Establish an audit area

Establish an area, out of the wind, either on-site or off-site, to perform the audit.

Equipment required

  • table or sheet of plastic (on the ground) to count contents of bins on
  • audit summary sheet
  • pencil/pen
  • calculator
  • scales to weigh waste material.

3 Separate, weigh and record the bin contents

  • Spread the contents of one bin at a time onto your table or plastic sheet.
  • Separate the contents into separate material types.
  • Systematically count and record material types using a waste audit summary sheet (see below).
  • Weigh all the material types separately and record the weights for each material group.

Waste audit summary sheets

Meet with the event participants

A meeting with event participants (e.g. caterers, vendors, organisers, council and members of the public) should give you some good feedback too. Summarise the feedback so it can be used for subsequent events, and for promotional follow-up in the media.

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