bin audit

What I learned when I did a bin audit…

With the New Year came a new energy to tackle the plastic problem in my life with gusto. 2018 had been a year of reflection and self-care and it helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life or at least what kind of mark I want leave on this Earth.

With the help of Caroline, I am organising Zero Waste Get Togethers where like-minded people can discuss plastic waste and pollution and share ideas on how to tackle the problem. At our last Meet Up we decided to do a bin audit and I was rather surprised, by the outcome of my bin audit.

So what is a bin audit? Basically, you take your bin – recycling or landfill or both and make a list of every single item that is in it. This highlights what actually goes into your bin, because most of the time we throw things away without giving it much thought.

Now, I have been working towards plastic free in my life for about 3 years and I really thought I was doing well but going through a week’s worth of recycling showed me I still have a fair bit to do. This is what I found:

bin graphic

(* the contents of these were happily munched by my furry friends, whose well-being has No. 1 priority)

Now this was only a week’s worth and didn’t include things like tooth paste tube, packaging for cleaning products, pasta packaging, etc. The whole exercise highlighted how some plastic has crept into my life that I am not consciously aware of. I buy my porridge and fruit loose but then I still use almond milk and suddenly my breakfast is no longer plastic free.

However, writing this list also makes me realise what isn’t on the list – plastic water bottles (I drink tap water), plastic bags (I use my own), tooth brush/tooth brush packaging (I use a bamboo brush, which comes in a cardboard box) or tampon wrappers (I use the moon cup). And as much as the amount of plastic waste generated frustrates me, I think it is really exciting to see how much I have reduced it as well! And Martin Dorey once said: “If we do nothing, nothing happens; if we do something, things change”

All in all, I found doing a bin audit very useful in assessing where I am on my plastic free journey and it helped me to focus on the next steps. Now I would like to hear from you: have you ever done an audit? How did you find it? If you haven’t done one yet but want to try it, let me know how you get on in the comments.

Thanks for reading 🙂


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