The Brightmark Challenge

The challenge is a yearlong call for everyone to reduce their waste — with mini-challenges, resources, and events to help you, your family, and your business learn about waste solutions, recycling, and renewable resources. Make Your Mark and take the Brightmark Challenge- you’ll help make a brighter future for us all.

Join the Brightmark Challenge

Challenge #4:
Audit Your Waste

Do you know what your garbage is up to?

As long as our trash cans fill up, so do our landfills…and our oceans. But once it’s out of sight, is your garbage out of mind? Let’s find out — by spending a week really paying attention to our waste.

If you really want to cut waste, you need to know how much you’re throwing away in the first place. Let’s jump into the challenge details.

Trash Bin

How to Audit Your Waste:

  • Make a copy of this handy spreadsheet to use for yourself — it’s set up with four categories: landfill, recycling, organic waste, hazardous waste​.
    • Landfill: trash that you can’t recycle according to your local standards, and can’t go into the “Organic Waste” category
    • Recycling: only the recyclables that are accepted by your local facility
    • Organic Waste: check with your local facility’s yard/food waste standards for what applies here, but it’s generally garden/yard waste and plant-based food scraps
    • Hazardous Waste: car oil, batteries, anything that requires special collection by your waste collection facility
  • For one week list and tally each item as you throw it away.
  • At the end of the week, review your results. Ask yourself:
    • What are you mostly throwing out? 
    • Are there ways you could’ve reused or reduced your waste?
  • Share your results — tag us on on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or TikTok and use #BrightmarkChallenge and let us know how your audit went, and how you think you can improve your garbage game.

Waste Audit Spreadsheet


Past Challenges

Challenge #3:
Zero Waste Valentine’s Day

This Valentine’s Day, we want to help you make it a good one — but not just good for you and your loved ones, good for the planet, too. Because Valentine’s Day alone generates more carbon emissions than driving around the world 3,000+ times, let’s fill the air with romance, not carbon emissions!

So if you have a love in your life, show that you care for them AND your future together on this big blue ball we call Earth — by making this a zero-waste Valentine’s Day.

Three ways to take action:

  • Bake treats from-scratch instead of buying pre-packaged goods (for humans, pets or the birds!)
  • Send digital love notes instead of paper-based, we’ve made a few digital downloads to get you started.
  • Share a video serenade via your social media outlet (yes, seriously… bonus points if it’s “Kiss From a Rose”)

Challenge 3 Heart

Challenge #3 Winners

Congratulations to @cattybradley, @paigevelynn and @excuseyounicole for taking the latest #BrightmarkChallenge to heart. They all won a Zero Waste Starter Kit from @PackageFreeShop. 💕

Enter to win a zero-waste gift
here’s how:

  1. Share your entry on social media — either a photo or video, plus a comment by February 17th.
  2. Tag us on on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or TikTok and use #BrightmarkChallenge on your post.
  3. We’ll review all the entries, and pick our favorites and share them across our social platforms. 

If you’re one of the winners, we’ll contact you directly with info on how to redeem your Zero Waste Starter Kit. This giveaway is not sponsored. We just love promoting products that help people reduce their waste.

Valentine's Day

The Importance of Reducing Your Valentine’s Day Waste

Over 36M heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold each year.*

Nearly 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year!**

People spend $1.7 billion on Valentine’s Day candy.***

Those weird cherry-liquor chocolates are gross.

Challenge #2:
Show Us Your Plastic Waste

Did you know that only the most common plastics are recycled at most recycling facilities? Think water bottles, milk jugs, mouthwash bottles, etc. Unfortunately, that means a lot of plastic still ends up in the landfill. So, for the next two weeks we are going to focus on educating ourselves about plastic types and how they are recycled.

This challenge is two-fold. First, we want you to do a deep dive into what your community can/can’t recycle. Use to help identify what plastic types are recycled in your community.

Second, share a photo of a plastic waste item you wish you could recycle but can’t. If we choose your picture, we’ll have you send us your item to recycle, and you’ll get to see it happen. It could be a practical piece of waste like a plastic bag or a broken kids toy. Extra points for creativity! 

Challenge 2 Winners

Thank you to everyone who participated in Challenge #2. We are happy to announce that the three winners are @runningforgarbage,  @goodoftheworld and @johnjackbradley. We are going to ship their plastic waste to our plastics renewal facility in Ashley, Indiana to be turned into transportation fuel and wax. Stay tuned for the shredding videos, we can’t wait to share them with you!

Here’s how it’ll work:

1. Post a photo of your plastic waste and share the plastic type* (on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or TikTok) by Feb 3, 2021.

2. Tag us and add the hashtag #BrightmarkChallenge.

3. We’ll choose the top 3 photo winners!

If your photo is selected, we will send you a postage-paid envelope for your item(s). Once we have your plastic waste, we will film it being renewed at our plastic renewal facility and then make sure to share that video and celebrate the winners!

Get to Know the Different Types of Plastic

Did you know that just because plastic items have a recycle symbol doesn’t guarantee they’re actually recyclable? The number within the ♻️ symbol identifies the type of plastic, which determines if it can be recycled. This can make recycling challenging. But we have good news! We are changing the way plastic recycling works. Our plastic renewal facility in Ashley, IN can recycle all plastic types.

Polyethylene Terephthalate

Water bottles, soft drinks, mouthwash, salad dressing bottles, peanut butter containers, oil containers and some ropes. Plastic #1 is usually clear in color and it is not intended for multiple uses.


Yes, commonly recycled.

High-Density Polyethylene

Milk and juice jugs, detergent and household cleaners, cosmetics, bleach containers, toys, crates, buckets and playground equipment.
Plastic #2 is durable enough to be reused without any harm.


Yes, commonly recycled.

Polyvinyl Chloride

Piping, some shampoo and cooking oil bottles, bubble wrap, house siding, shower curtains, credit cards. Plastic #3 contains chemical additives that can be harmful and should never be burned.


No, not commonly recycled.

Low-Density Polyethylene

Bread bags, frozen foods, plastic grocery bags bags, toothpaste, hot and cold beverage cups, sandwich bags. Plastic #4 while not commonly recycled, many retailers have now started accepting it.


No, not commonly recycled.


Yogurt and cottage cheese containers, ketchup and syrup bottles, medicine bottles, straws, disposable diapers, potato chip bags. Plastic #5 is often used for food, if your community recycles this type of plastic make sure it is rinsed.


No, not commonly recycled.


Styrofoam take-out containers, egg cartons, plastic utensils, foam packing peanuts, CD cases, seed trays and fast-food trays. Plastic #6 is easily breakable and the proper care should be taken when throwing it away.


No, not commonly recycled.

Miscellaneous Plastics

Sunglasses, eyeglasses, CDs and DVDs, computer cases, 5-gallon water jugs, bullet proof materials, sippy cups, dental sealants and nylon. Plastic #7 is made up of a wide variety of plastic resins that don’t fit into the previous categories.


No, not commonly recycled.

Always double check the plastic number and make sure that your community recycles that type before putting it in the bin.

Challenge #1: Spread the Word

Share on social media, text a friend or send a note by carrier pigeon! We appreciate you helping us get the word out. The more people that join us, the bigger impact we will have. Use the links below to share on social media.

Brightmark Challenge Accepted