Harvard has a goal to reduce waste per capita 50% by 2020 from a 2006 baseline. Help us reach this goal by conducting a waste audit to understand what your School, unit, or department’s waste reduction opportunities are.

Benefits of a waste audit:

  • Answers the question, “is this recyclable, compostable, or reusable?”
  • Reveals how much of your trash could have been recycled, composted, or reused.
  • Creates a baseline to reference your progress from one waste audit to the next.
  • Allows you to target your waste reduction efforts.

Step 1: Pick a Time

  • Waste Audits are held from 1-4 pm every Thursday and Friday and can be booked through your Outlook Calendar

  • Invite the Outlook resource “Waste Audit” to the desired date/time of your waste audit, see availability and book your audit.

  • Follow-up with an email introducing yourself to Kieran Clyne, Associate Manager for Recycling Services, and cc your School OFS Contact or sustainability@harvard.edu.

    •  Confirm and discuss plans for the audit.  

    • Kieran will connect with your building manager to explain goals of audit.

Step 2: Plan for the Audit

  • Allow two–eight weeks to book, plan, and organize the audit.

  • Plan for three hours to complete the audit, plus additional time for travel to Allston.

  • Recruit Volunteers:

    • Find at least two volunteers to participate.

    • Connect with your local Green Team.

    • Share your goals and expectations with your team.

    • Make the outing fun! Consider grabbing a cup of coffee or lunch with your group before the audit.

Step 3: Last Minute Details

  • Kieran will provide bag audit forms at the audit.

  • Wear comfy shoes, leave loose items behind, and limit jewelry.

  • Safety gloves/materials will be provided.

Step 4: Day of the Audit

  • Meet Kieran at 28 Travis Street, (156 Western Ave for GPS purposes), Allston, MA, unless other location determined by Kieran. Note: Audits may take place inside or outside depending on the weather.

  • Kieran will share safety precautions and the importance of confidentiality with the group before the audit. What you find in the audit stays in the audit.

  • Participants will sort the trash with Kieran's guidance (gloves, tongs, and protective gear provided for clothing).

  • Ask questions and have fun!

Step 5: Share Results

  • One week following the audit, Kieran will share:

    • A comparison of current waste audit data to past data, if available.

    • A report of findings and next steps.

    • Suggestions for improving waste reduction.

  • Spend time at the next staff meeting discussing results and next steps.


Waste Audit Location and Contact Information:

Kieran Clyne, Associate Manager for Recycling Services
156 Western Ave, Allston, MA
Phone: 617.495.3042

Office for Sustainability Contact: sustainability@harvard.edu.