- plastic or rubber gloves
- a large plastic tarp (or equivalent)
- an area to dump the waste (ideally, outside)
- paper and pencil
- Your challenge is to conduct a waste audit with your kids and use your findings to make a plan for reducing the amount of trash in your home. Before you begin, get a copy of the local recycling guidelines so you know what should and should not be in the trash.
- Gather one day’s worth of trash from your home and empty it onto a tarp. Begin sorting (or classifying) items into piles (cardboard, food waste, plastics, etc.).
- Visually eye the volume of each type of trash. If the total amount collected is 100%, you can guesstimate the percent of each type of waste. Graph it to see which type of waste makes up most of the trash.
- Clean up! Return non-recyclables to garbage cans, sort recyclables into recycling bins, and compost perishables, if possible. Don’t forget to wash your hands!
- Did you find any items that could have been recycled, composted, or simply reused instead of thrown away? Brainstorm ideas to reduce the amount of waste in your home: make a poster of what can and cannot be recycled and hang it up in your kitchen; choose products with the least amount of packaging; start a compost bin; or opt for reusable containers to pack your lunch. Be creative!