Written by futureofwaste

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

You decided to work at reducing waste in your tourism/event organization, welcome on board! After having defined a shared purpose within your company  in order to engage your top hierarchy and staff in the project, time has come to conduct your waste audit. You might have identified employees excited about this new initiative: empower them to do so!


Doing a waste audit will help you to:

1. Define user journeys of key personae to list potential waste

This step is particularly pertinent for events organizers.
For hotels, it might be easier to brainstorm directly thinking at each different spots (restaurant, room, reception…), go to step 2.

We encourage you to take time to think about your specific case rather than uploading a generic list of potential waste (link to tab 3). By understanding key moments and behaviors, you will be able to provide appropriate waste collection or prevention system.

Testimonial from William Perrault:
“Youngster often come to music festival with cheap booze they intend to drink while queuing to enter the festival. It help them save money and feel more fun. As they seldom can enter the festival with drink because there is a security check at the entrance, they will finish their bottles and hide it anywhere in the surroundings which ends up being littered with waste”.

You can either to this on your own or facilitate a brainstorming session with your green team. For events it might be easier to brainstorm through personae.

  • List out key people that come to your structure or event. If categories are too heterogeneous, define smaller ones that differ in composition. For instance music festival participants might have very different behaviors and thus generate very different kinds of waste. It is then relevant to differentiate local youngsters coming in groups at night from families visiting during the day etc. Don’t forget to list out different kinds of 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.
Example of the result of a 3 step brainstorming starting with personae for a festival.

2. Fill a grid to details waste by spots, moments and categories

For Hotels, it might be easier to start directly with brainstorming through locations (and not personae):

  • List out all the actions and players that relate to specific spaces (rooms, restaurants, swimming pool etc.).
  • List out all the potential waste you might find there.
Example of the result of a brainstorming with locations for a hotel.

Fill in the grid as much as you can. Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Not all columns are compulsory.
  • Try to cluster waste in homogenous categories that can be tackled together. Leave waste that is generated in very different moments or spaces separated.
  • A lot of this information you can guess/estimate with common sense : to get inspiration on how to weigh your event waste bins and calculate your events waste diversion, check this link.
  • Some information might be found on the Internet: if you are only starting your activity or if it’s the first edition of your festival, you might find sectoral reports that will help you make estimations. For instance you might anticipate that “an average customer will leave 20% of its plate unfinished since you found this data on XXXX”.

3. Calculate or estimate volumes through research and interviews

Once you have categories of waste, try to get more precise data.

Who should you interview?

  • Peers that have similar jobs but with longer experience. Predecessors form previous festival editions.
  • 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

What questions should you ask?

  1. Try to fill out the grid with the more important information or at least get estimations about the volume, purchasing, maintenance or end of life cost, existing practices.

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

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Thank you to our authors as well as our expert proofreaders who contributed to fact-checking the content. Like the entire toolbox, this article has been created thanks to the collaborative effort of:

The Future of Waste community