Summer is winding down, and with it Lunch on the Square is getting ready to wrap up its 15th season! Lunch on the Square has come a long way since its humble beginnings 15 years ago at One Summit Square. It’s hard to believe that the series started with just some live music and outdoor seating (this was before Fort Wayne’s big “food truck boom”). Nowadays, Lunch on the Square hosts a full lineup of music and food trucks all summer long, providing a mainstay meeting ground for Downtown Fort Wayne workers and residents every Thursday.
Over the past decade and a half, Lunch on the Square has evolved into more than just a communal lunch gathering. With the launch of Lunch Means More (a philanthropic program where a portion of sales is donated to selected local nonprofits), it became a space for the community to give back. And now, with its recent partnership with Brightmark (a circular innovation company with a mission to “Reimagine Waste”), the lunch series has become an innovator in the way it manages its waste.
If you’ve been to Lunch on the Square this year, you may have noticed Brightmark’s recycling collection points throughout Freimann Square. Those collection points are part of Brightmark and Downtown Fort Wayne’s plastic recycling pilot — which collects plastic waste left behind from Lunch on the Square, allowing Brightmark to repurpose it using their plastics renewal technology.
Brightmark’s goal? Divert and repurpose even the most difficult type of plastics to create new, clean, high-quality materials with a lower carbon footprint. Here’s what Brightmark CEO Bob Powell had to say about the pilot:
“Our goal was to offer an easy solution to the over 14,000 Lunch on the Square Summer series attendees for proper waste disposal. Brightmark is deeply invested in the state of Indiana’s environmental impact. We hope to create many more community recycling programs that help divert plastic waste from the environment and keep our public spaces clean. We’ve collected several pounds of plastic waste thus far and seek to educate the Fort Wayne community about plastic waste to influence future generations.”
Brightmark’s proprietary technology is special for lots of reasons. But one that makes it ideal for Lunch on the Square, is its use of commingled plastics. That means there’s no need to sort the waste—a common deterrent in many recycling programs. By eliminating the need to sort, Brightmark’s technology keeps even more plastics out of landfills.
This partnership means you can stop by all your favorite food trucks at Lunch on the Square without any of the single-use-plastic guilt. So bring your family or gather with friends, and don’t miss the last few weeks of Lunch on the Square—where you can have a hand in this new, innovative way to recycle.
Molly Conner is a Fort Wayne native and freelance writer. Having lived in Downtown Fort Wayne throughout her twenties, she loves watching her stomping grounds grow. With her love of storytelling and community in tow, she’s eager to tell Downtown Fort Wayne’s story piece-by-piece—exploring the people, spaces, and organizations that make it thrive.