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Audit Your Waste to Make Informed Choices this Earth Day

Audit Your Waste to Make Informed Choices this Earth Day

Posted by Katie Deska on Apr 15th 2021

Many of us want to reduce our waste and curb our consumption, but lack clarity on how to make it happen. Conducting a waste audit, where you collect, categorize, and measure your waste, is a fact-finding activity that empowers you to make informed decisions.

“Investigating and inquiring about what we discard -- all that we seek to ‘get rid of’ -- draws our attention to the sources and patterns of our waste generation,” said Katie Deska, Education & Upcycle Coordinator at the Michigan State University Surplus Store & Recycling Center (SSRC). “We can then act on that evidence to make more informed decisions, ultimately aligning us more closely to our goals and values.”

When we make choices that we feel good about, it creates momentum that carries us onward, to our next milestone of sustainable living.

If this sounds like a journey you would like to explore, consider attending Waste Not! How to Conduct a Home Waste Audit, a virtual demonstration and discussion led by SSRC. Part of SSRC’s monthly Town Hall series, the event will take place on Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, at 7 p.m. via Zoom.

Hosted in partnership with the Office of Sustainability, as part of the MSU Science Festival, this interactive webinar will cover how to collect, sort, and draw conclusions from your personal and/or household waste. Attendees will learn how to conduct a waste audit, develop a baseline understanding of their waste profile, and hear from fellow zero-waste champions who have benefited from the waste inventory experience.

“Doing a waste audit is a really eye-opening experience. I think a lot of people will be surprised by what they learn in going through the process,” said Laura Young, Sustainability Program Coordinator with MSU’s Office of Sustainability. “It can help flip the script from ‘how can I recycle more?’ to ‘how can I consume less?’”

During the Town Hall discussion, Young will share what she discovered over the last month while saving and sorting her household waste. She will touch on pride points, challenges, and lessons learned.

“At the end of the day, it’s really about identifying where you have room to make an improvement,” said Young. “Figure out what works for you and your household. There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to embracing sustainable waste management practices.”

Event attendees will receive a how-to guide to conduct their own home waste audit and be invited to contact SSRC after the event to share their own waste audit story.

Register to receive the link to attend via Zoom. Visit

About the MSU Science Festival (SciFest): The ninth annual SciFest is going on now through April 30. With more than 50 statewide partners and 70 MSU partners, there is still so much to see – talks with experts, hands-on activities, virtual tours, and citizen science activities to explore on your own. SciFest celebrates the many ways science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (the STEAM disciplines) touch our everyday lives and shape our future. All events are free and open to the public.

About MSU Sustainability: The MSU Office of Sustainability serves as the central coordinator and convener for the University’s progress in addressing global climate change and sustainable development goals. Its mission is to cultivate and embed sustainability and climate change actions throughout the institution in alignment with its four pillars of success: Campus, Curriculum, Community and Culture.

About MSU Surplus Store & Recycling Center (SSRC): In addition to processing 20-25 million pounds of material every year, SSRC prioritizes educating the community on how to manage waste as a resource – an endeavor that relies heavily on STEAM disciplines. Through a demonstration of how to investigate one’s household waste, SSRC offers SciFest learners of all ages a window into the world of STEAM as it relates to sustainable materials management.