This year, Richardson Middle School in Torrance took part in the 5th annual Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge and made big changes in their school community! As part of this competition, they joined 21 other southern California schools in reducing their lunch time waste by learning to pack trash free lunches in reusable containers and by setting up a lunch area sorting station which gives students the opportunity to recycle and compost much of what would have ended up in the landfill.

Richardson assembled an active and dedicated student green team led by a passionate teacher, Ms. Mason to lead their waste reduction efforts on campus. These students were integral in helping to educate fellow students regarding the new program and making lasting environmental change on their campus.

At the beginning of the year, Grades of Green went out to audit the campus and discovered that they were making 14 bags of landfill waste each day at lunch. After a school wide assembly and coaching from Grades of Green, Richardson was able to work on their waste reduction program throughout the school year and reduce that number down to only 4 bags of trash each day, diverting over 70% of their lunchtime waste away from the landfill each day.

Richardson Middle School was named a middle school finalist in this year’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge and was awarded a sustainability grant of $750 to put towards furthering their green programs on campus. The Richardson Green Team was recognized for their efforts by Torrance Mayor Patrick Furey at a city council meeting in May 2016. Congratulations Richardson on your award winning waste reduction program!

Interested in registering your school for the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge? For more information click here!