Discover Your Island

Waste Audit

What is a Waste Audit?

Waste audit's are methodically thought out process which can be used to determine the amount and types of waste that is generated by area. Information from these audits can help us determine how we can reduce the amount of waste at Texas A&M Corpus Christi.

The primary purposes of a waste audit are to...

  1. Initiate our Zero Waste programs
  2. Obtain insight on the amount of food waste for our composting program
  3. Identify anything that is not working correctly (e.g., if an item is consistently found in the wrong bin)
  4. Develop a plan to address deficiencies (usually through communication and education)
Waste audits allows a starting point on minimizing our waste production and promoting reusable material, composting and better recycling results. 

Early Childhood Development Center

In April of 2017, The Islander Green Team conducted the universities first waste audit at the Early Childhood Development Center on campus. Over the course of two days, the waste stream was manually separated into food waste, recyclable material and landfill components. After weighing and measuring the material, the results were astonishing.

Day one was counting material "as is". i.e. recyclable plastic that was contaminated with food or liquid was still considered trash.

Day two was arranged so that all materials that could have been salvaged for recycling or compost was counted accordingly. i.e. contaminated recyclable material was added under recyclable. This day showed potential yield of what could have been recycled if proper disposal was carried out.

The results are shown below.

 

 

 

 

 "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not." - Dr. Susses' The Lorax

Bell Library Waste Audit

On November 10, 2017 Islander Green Team organized a second waste audit at the Bell Library. Trash stream was separated in the service dock to ensure collection of "Recycling" and "Trash". All necessary approval and equipment was granted by Dean of Libraries, Dr. Catherine Rodowsky and Custodial Manager, Cris Calabria.

Materials were sorted into 14 5-gallon buckets and two types of waste: trash or recycling. As well as 6 subcategories: trash, commingled recyclables, contaminated recyclables, compost, reusable, technological waste, and liquid waste.

 

The figure above shows what was found in the recycling bins at Bell Library. From the data we learned that only 36% of the recycling bins were actually recyclable material. 44% of the material in the was contaminated with food or liquids and 20% of the total was considered trash.

 

 

The trash held much more volume and weight than the recycling bins collected. We found that the trash contained 23% potentially recyclable material (18% was contaminated) and 26% could have been deviated to compost. We found that only 35% could actually be considered trash. This leaves for a trash reduction potential of 65%.

 

Reasons behind conducting this audit is to obtain current and accurate quantitative data regarding the waste habits of the students and faculty on campus. The data obtained will be used to help implement green initiatives such as the current composting program and future zero waste programs. Not only will programs such as these divert waste from landfills and reduce our carbon footprint, they will also reduce our campuses waste hauling costs and create student research and job opportunities.