WasteArt – waste audtit

Waste Audit - methodological material for educational institutions

Partners of IES’s project WasteArt have developed first waste audit tool for schools and kindergartens in Latvia and Estonia. It can also be adjusted for households and workplaces. The tool has been developed by Vidzeme Planning Region in cooperation with expert from Foundation for Environmental education – Daniels Trukšāns and Tipu Nature School.

Consumerism, our lifestyle and everyday habits feed the waste landfills and help their mountains to grow. Last few years have been dedicated to waste recycling, but it is important to know that it is the last step in waste management hierarchy. First one is to try not to produce waste, then to evaluate what is necessary in our everyday lives and choose reusable options, after that comes the recycling and finally, the last step is to send the leftovers to landfill.

But where do we start? How to produce less waste? In order to make decisions towards more environmentally friendly and less consumption-based lifestyle we have to have a clear understanding of the situation. Waste audit can be the first step to evaluate what we throw away.

Waste audit tool is a practical method that helps to measure and evaluate the waste we produce in schools, kindergartens, households and workplaces.

Watch video about waste audit in Estonian.

Watch video about waste audit in Latvian.

The “out of sight, out of mind” approach is a convenient way to think about waste, but it does not help to deal with the environmental, social and economic problems associated with it. There is no waste in nature, but in the man-made world waste is ever-growing. In the European Union countries around 2.6 billion tons of waste are generated throughout the year.

School is a place where children not only gain knowledge and develop skills, but also acquire habits, shape their attitude and responsibility for themselves and their actions. School is also a place that produces some environmental impact, including waste. It is therefore possible to not only talk about the waste issue in theory, but also research it in practice and, most importantly, act to address it. Researching the waste management situation and waste audit might be one way to implement it.

This methodological material has been developed to enable educational institutions to implement these principles in life, raise awareness of and address the challenges associated with waste management. This will provide a detailed insight into how to carry out a waste reduction project at school by implementing a waste audit and related steps – an action plan, a monitoring and evaluation process, and linking to the curriculum. 

Schools and kindergartens from Latvia and Estonia participated in the tesing of Waste audit tool (14 in LV and 12 in EE).

This methodological material was developed within the Project No. Est-Lat 65 “Reuse of Waste through Arts and Crafts” (WasteArt) under the Interreg V-A Estonia–Latvia cross-border cooperation programme 2014–2020. The development of the material is financed by the European Regional Development Fund with co-financing from the Vidzeme Planning Region.

Authors: Daniels Trukšāns (Foundation for Environmental Education, Eco-Schools Programme), Vidzeme Planning Region in cooperation with the Institute for Environmental Solutions, SIA “ZAAO”, Tipu Nature School (Mittetulundusühing Tipu Looduskool, Estonia), Võru Municipality (Võru Vallavalitsus, Estonia) and Põlva Municipality (Põlva Vallavalitsus¸ Estonia).

This article reflects the views of the author. The managing authority of the programme is not liable for how this information may be used.