Black Rock Research

Check out this page to learn more about how to conduct a home waste audit.

I, Samantha, the founder of Black Rock Refill have conducted my own home waste audit to see how much waste my household was generating and how much of each landfill, compost, or recycling. This information will help me come up with some solutions to reducing my household waste. Learn more about my results below and check out Keep Tahoe Blue's video on how to perform a Trash Audit to learn more about how you can audit your waste then start reducing the waste you create! 

The average American produces 4.5 lbs of trash per day! In one week that is 31.5 lbs of trash generated by one person! Audit your household waste today to see if you generate more or less trash in one week! 

I conducted my own waste audit during one week of the COVID 19 pandemic shutdown. In seven days a total of 5,166 grams of waste was generated in my household of 2 adults and 2 dogs. 5,166 grams is equivalent to 11.39 lbs. If the average American produces 31.5 lbs of waste per week, in a household of 2 adults, a total of 63 lbs of waste is usually accumulated. I am happy to say that my household produces a significant less amount of waste (82% less) than the average American 2 person household. 

A total of 11.39 lbs of waste was generated in my household; however, this does not take into account recycling and composting. With Reno, NV single stream recycling I was able to recycle 2,811 grams (or 6.2 lbs) of my waste generated. I was also able to compost 1,341 grams (or 2.96 lbs) of food waste, bringing my total landfill waste to 1,014 grams (or 2.24 lbs), which is 96% less waste produced than the average American 2 person household.

Image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Landfill Items Generated

Non-recyclable plastic food packaging and plastic wrap, receipts, soiled napkins and bathroom tissue, non-compostable food (meat and bones), and non-recyclable materials.

Recycling Bottles

Recycling Items Generated

Glass bottles and caps, tin and aluminum cans, cardboard, paper, plastic food packaging (hard rigid #1, 2, 5, and 7; materials were clean and dry before weighing).

Image by Volodymyr Hryshchenko

Compostable Items Generated

Vegetable scraps (carrot ends, onion ends, spoiled veggies, orange peels, and garlic peels), steeped loose leaf tea leaves, egg shells, bread, rice, and paper.

Solutions to Reducing Landfill Waste

Solutions to Reducing Recycling Waste

Solutions to Reducing Compost Waste

A lot of household waste is generated from food packaging; therefore, refusing unnecessary food packaging will help reduce your household waste:

  1. Shop the bulk sections

  2. Bring your own reusable produce and grocery bags. 

  3. Shop the perimeter of the store as most of the aisles in the middle of the store contain processed and packaged foods.

  1. Reno single-stream recycling accepts hard rigid plastics #1-5, and #7; however, only 9% of plastics are effectively recycled. Try refusing plastic items when outside of the household. 

  2. Glass, tin, and aluminum can be recycled over and over again, try to purchase items packaged in these items over plastics. 

  3. Paper can be composted.

I have recently started making my own bone broth from bones and veggie scraps to help reduce compost waste. Simply slow cook bones and veggie scraps for several hours, fill water level to just above bone and veggie contents. Strain contents, remove bones (bones can now be crushed and composted since most of the proteins and fat have been dissolved in the broth), blend veggies for baby food, or added fiber to your dog's food, or make a soup! 

Check out Keep Tahoe Blue's video on how to perform a Trash Audit to learn more about how you can audit your waste then start reducing the waste you create! 


Turn this into an activity the entire family can enjoy by using this worksheet to help and guide you through this home activity.