Project image card - click to select this 10 hour project. Image shows people sorting waste collected during an on-the-water cleanup
10 Hours

Photo credit: Algalita

Your mission

Hold brands accountable for plastic pollution by adding data for your community to a global study.

Time Commitment: 10 Hours

Range of Impact: Community, Global

This Action was created in partnership with Break Free From Plastic.

Why this Action is impactful

By categorizing and counting the branded plastic packaging that you collect during a cleanup, you will help identify the corporations who are most responsible for plastic pollution in your local area.

What to know before getting started

Big brands have continued to push the narrative that community members are responsible for plastic pollution, but the brands that make and sell these hard to recycle single-use plastics should be held to a higher standard when producing them. 

What to do

Follow the steps provided on the Break Free From Plastic – Brand Audit Tool Kit website

Note: You will only earn hours for this action if the Brand Audit is conducted with trash that you collect from the environment (as opposed to a home waste audit).

Tips and suggestions

  • Before you start, watch the Brand Audit training video, print out the visual guide and the datasheet. Before you start sorting and categorizing your plastics, study the visual guide with everyone doing the Brand Audit so you understand the different categories.
  • Focus on plastic pollution that is easy to identify. For example, if you do an audit at a beach that has lots of microplastic pieces, you’ll find it is usually impossible to identify which brand they came from. For the brand audit, start by separating out the microplastics and any items that aren’t plastic.
  • We recommend bringing a reusable container to use for your collection/cleanup. We like using 5 gallon buckets. Also, try reusable, washable gloves instead of single use plastic ones. Have a tarp or old sheet ready to lay out all your plastics during the sorting and data collection phase. 
  • You can do your brand audit on your street, in a nearby park, at the beach, etc. 
  • Remember, this exercise focuses only on plastic waste – so while you are free to pick up non-plastic waste during your cleanup, please record the brands of just the plastic items you find. 
  • Take pictures of your Brand Audit and share on social media to spread the word and shift the narrative away from blaming consumers.
  • If you need help with any part of your brand audit, reach out to the brand audit team for support!
  • ​Safety is key! If you’re under 18, we recommend hosting or going to a Brand Audit event with an adult chaperone. Also, make sure to instruct anyone helping with your Brand Audit to refrain from picking up anything dangerous or hazardous.

Track your contribution

To submit your work to Wayfinder Society and get recognized for your contribution to your community, complete the form below. If we approve your submission, you’ll be awarded 10 Hours.

Create an account or login to track your progress.

Learn more

Check out the educational videos below to learn more about this topic.

Do another Action

Check out our other Actions that build off of this one!

A man talking on the phone and taking notes

Support the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act

Sign your support for this incredible nation-wide bill on plastics.

Assorted plastic waste closeup

Conduct a Home Waste Audit

Conduct a home waste audit with your family to reduce your plastic use at home.

Close up of a microscope

Attend a City Council Meeting

Tell your local representatives about issues that are important to you.