Wading into a Cleanaway waste audit

Cleanaway Marketing Coordinator Maddi Staley gets her hands dirty for sustainability

Our Services

September 11, 2019


“Shortly after arriving I realised what I had got myself into, that stench would wake anyone up on a Monday morning!”


“Shortly after arriving I realised what I had got myself into, that stench would wake anyone up on a Monday morning!”

Pictured from left to right: Regional Manager Rob De Angelis, Marketing Coordinator Maddi Staley, Executive Assistant Christine Padfield, Client Manager Narelle Bertoncello, and Customer Retention Specialists Alistair Brearley and Monika Horvat.

When Cleanaway Sustainability Solutions Specialist, Manny Manatakis sent an email looking for helpers for a customer waste audit, Marketing Coordinator Maddi Staley figured she’d put her hand up. Having been at Cleanaway for two years and regularly reading about waste audits, Maddi was excited to learn more about how we help our customers evaluate their waste and make recommendations for improving their disposal practices.


Getting down and dirty

Maddi and the rest of the Cleanaway team met at Cleanaway’s Altona Recycling Centre, stylishly dressed in orange high visibility suits, steel cap boots, gloves and glasses – all in the name of safety, of course.

“Shortly after arriving I realised what I had got myself into, that stench would wake anyone up on a Monday morning!” said Maddi with a laugh.

The team were given three 3 meter bins to trawl through, separating each waste item into individual tubs. “Unfortunately these bins hadn’t been collected that day – they’d been brought from country Victoria and were at least a couple of days old.”

“We had to be really specific. Separating each material, counting items, weighing and recording them as they went into each tub. It took about two hours and that was long enough for me!” explained Maddi.

Manny Manatakis added, “Having these statistics is crucial for Cleanaway to make recommendations to our customers. For example, wet, heavy organics discovered in the general waste bin can potentially be diverted into an organics recycling stream. Similarly, large amounts of cardboard or certain types of plastic can be collected separately and recycled in a dedicated waste bin.”

Knee deep in recycling potential

“I was really shocked at how much could have been eaten or recycled. We found items like cheese and chocolate – I would’ve happily taken care of these items before they hit the general waste!” Maddi said.

“The team were surprised at what we found – raw chicken, meats, shrimp, packaged and loose produce, dairy, eggs and bread. And we know from the services available that a lot of these products could have been diverted to an organics stream to be repurposed.”

The waste health check gave Maddi a new perspective on her own waste disposal habits. “I realised that the everyday decisions we make about consumption and disposal can have huge impact on sustainability at an individual or household level right up to organisations that produce waste at a large scale.”

“I’ve definitely been trying to buy only what I need, and be more mindful about putting the right things in the right bin. My housemate has also since copped a few reminders about recycling correctly.”

“Going through your rubbish bin is actually really fascinating . When you see the rubbish you produce, you can be smarter with your purchases and hopefully more conscious of using the right bin to maximise recovery.” Maddi said.

“Even though I didn’t eat for the remainder of the day, the waste audit was a lot of fun and very insightful. Thank you to Manny for having us! I’ve recommended to so many of my colleagues to get involved. If your business is interested in increasing sustainability efforts definitely reach out to your Account Manager to organise a waste audit!”

Is your business reaching its diversion targets? Contact us to learn how your business can make a sustainable future possible. Or read how we help our customers through comprehensive waste health checks.