Announcing the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge Winners

Grades of Green is proud to congratulate the grand prize winners of the 7th annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge! The top three middle school and elementary school finalists each submitted a 10 minute video explaining their waste reduction program that was judged by a panel of environmental experts. Winning schools were chosen based on how well the Grades of Green team inspired and educated their campus community about the importance of reducing waste, how much waste the school is diverting from landfills, and how their program will be sustained and expanded upon in the future.

Selecting the winners was no easy task. After much discussion,the winner of the middle school category is… Helen Keller Middle School from Long Beach! Helen Keller Middle School launched a comprehensive waste reduction program which included composting fruit and vegetable scraps on campus and donating uneaten food with the help of Food Finders, a food recovery organization. Helen Keller Middle School’s Grades of Green Team students meet weekly during lunch and make sure every classroom is presented information that was discussed at the weekly meetings. The students even reached out to their school’s Nutrition Services Branch to replace their traditional utensil packets, which included both a spork and napkin, with individual sporks and napkins so students have the option to take only what they need. Congratulations Helen Keller Middle School!

The winner of the elementary school category is… Victor Elementary from Torrance! Victor elementary started a club called the Victor Elementary Environmental Engineer Club Students, or VEEECS, which served as their Grades of Green Team. The Victor school community has made the Trash Free Lunch Challenge a permanent part of the campus culture. The VEEECS sorting station is available to students daily, and student leaders monitor the sorting stations to help their peers sort correctly. VEEECS leaders host raffles to encourage kids to pack trash free lunches and even have multiple VEEECS positions like Sorting Station Technicians, Compost Engineers, Public Relations Promoters, Web engineers/masters, Graphic Artists, Photo-Journalists, and New Program Development to ensure their waste reduction program continues.

Inspired by Helen Keller Middle School and Victor Elementary to reduce your school’s waste? Join the 2018-2019 Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Email us at [email protected] today to learn more!