Grades of Green's Trash Free Lunch Challenge is a year-long competition that challenges elementary and middle schools in Los Angeles to see which school can reduce its lunchtime waste the most. Through fun, educational assemblies, personalized eco-starter kits, waste reduction plans, and Grades of Green Advisors available to personally guide each school, Grades of Green helps create an environment where every school is successful! Participating schools encourage students who bring lunch from home to eliminate trash by using reusable lunch containers, water bottles, and cloth napkins. All students, including those who buy lunch, are taught how to sort waste at their school’s customized sorting station, which often includes separating out recyclables, food waste to compost, liquids, and landfill waste – forming habits these students will carry with them for a lifetime, thereby protecting the environment for years to come.
At the end of the school year, participating schools are evaluated based upon how well they could:
• Educate and inspire the most people at their campus to care for the environment;
• Create and implement a trash free lunch program that diverts the most trash bags from landfills per day, and best encourages students to reduce their waste at school; and
• Establish sustainability of their waste reduction program in perpetuity (i.e., making it a permanent part of their campus culture).
Since the inception of the Trash Free Lunch Challenge in 2011, participating schools have decreased lunchtime trash by an average of 70%, and winning schools are reducing waste by over 90%! In the past six years, over 95,000 students in 117 schools have been a part of the Trash Free Lunch Challenge. 47,700 bags of trash are being diverted by participating schools each year, and over 227,000 bags of trash have been diverted in the past six years! (That’s enough bags to line the course of a marathon!) Applications for this year's Trash Free Lunch Challenge are currently open for next school year, and space is limited! To learn more about the Challenge and to register your school, please call us at 310-607-0175 or email [email protected] to get more information.