Our group broke up into smaller teams to complete waste audits at the Durham Waste Transfer Station, in which we surveyed and took note of what kind of waste flows into the site on a daily basis. Our findings were that people were throwing things away that could have been used by someone else, or even simple recyclables (see below).

final waste audit 2

Children’s toys, baby carriers, construction waste, mattresses and furniture, and fabrics, were among the items discarded on the days we took inventory. All of these things could have instead gone to specialty stores like Mattress-Go-Round, which refurbishes mattresses and other furniture and sells them back to the universities and hotels that it collected them from at a better quality and a cheaper price. Charitable organizations like Goodwill and the Salvation Army could have used many of the children’s items, and the Habitat for Humanity ReStore could have made use of at least some of the construction waste.

For more quantitative data about the type of waste we observed, check out the Waste Audit Data pages.