Written by daniel

This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

You have decided to work on tackling the waste issue in your tourism/event organization? Welcome on board ! After having defined a shared purpose within your company (step 1)  in order to engage your top hierarchy and staff in the project, time has come to conduct your waste audit. You can do it yourself, and/or empower other employees eager to contribute ! 

/!\ This methodology is not a professional audit, but it will give you a general overview of  your waste streams and quantity in order to plan your next steps. For a professional audit, we recommend you to contact a dedicated company / consultancy firm !


Doing a waste audit is a prerequisite to improve your waste management project. By identifying which waste streams you produce, and in which quantity, it will help you prepare the next steps:

  • To identify where to focus priorities (Step 5). You might otherwise spend time on good practices that may have little impact
  • To find more relevant solutions for your action plan (Step 6), by determining more precisely the sources of your waste production.
  • To get an overview of the potential costs, savings, and your progress over time (Step 8)
  • To communicate (Step 9) and mobilize stakeholders (Step 4), by providing facts and numbers

1. Fill a grid to detail waste streams by spots, timing, and categories

You may use our template grid (see Tools above) or create your own one.
For each location of your organisation (rooms,  lobby, restaurants, swimming pool…), you should list :

  • The waste streams you might find there
  • The stakeholders that relate to specific spaces (waste producers, waste collectors)

Try to cluster waste in homogenous categories that can be tackled together – either because they can be collected similarly due to their location or timing of production (e.g. beverage waste) or can be treated similarly (e.g. organic waste).

Room / restaurant / bar / outdoor

2. Define the trajectory of key personae producer of waste

Another option for the organisations that have very temporary settings, such as festival or village fair, is to use personaes to realise your waste audit – you might find it simplier to focus on the visitors themselves and their journey, rather than by location.

We encourage you to take time to think about your specific case rather than uploading a generic list of potential waste. And personae are often fun to brainstorm in groups !

By identifying key moments and behaviors, you will be able to provide appropriate prevention system or waste collection. Example of a testimonial from William Perrault (ADEEC), where identifying the trajectory helped determine the needs :

“Youngster often come to music festival with cheap booze they intend to drink while queuing to enter. It help them save money and amuse. As they can rarely enter the festival with drink, because of the entrance’s security check, they often finish their bottles and hide it anywhere in the surroundings which ends up being littered with waste”.

  • List out key people that come to your structure or event. If categories are too heterogeneous, define smaller ones that differ in composition. Different behaviors usually generates different kinds of waste : local youngsters coming in groups at night won’t have the same habits as families visiting during the day for example. Don’t forget to list out the relevant employees, partners etc.
  • For each personae, try to figure out all the actions those personae will do throughout the day / the event.
  • For each action that have been listed, think about the potential waste that could be generated.
Who / Does / What

3. Calculate or estimate volumes of waste produced

Once you have your main categories of waste determined, try to get more precise data in term of quantity produced. You have different options :

  • The most precise and complete one is to literally measure with a squale each waste stream over a certain period of time. 
  • If you want to start action faster, you can try to get those information retroactively by doing research an interviews
  • You can also make estimations, by guessing the weight of your bins. Some information can be found on internet (e.g. report of other events/restaurants of a similar size)

Who should you interview?

  • Employees that are on the spots and directly collect the waste.
  • Purchasing departments or accountants that will be able to give invoices, receipts, purchasing orders and grids
  • Peers : your predecessors form previous festival editions or peers in other organisations that have evauate their weight of waste

What questions should you ask?

Try to fill out the grid with them, but keep in mind that the priorities are to estimate the quantity of waste, their frequency, and what are the existing waste management practices. If you can get the costs associated it will help late to plead your case. 

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This article is part of our toolbox
“Tackling waste in tourism & events”

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