At Grades of Green, our mission is to inspire and empower kids to care for the environment, so when a group of passionate students at a school want to get involved, we are thrilled! After a few Girl Scouts at Prisk Elementary from Long Beach Unified School District learned about the negative impacts waste has on our environment, they were inspired to lead Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge to help their school reduce its waste. The Girl Scouts formed a student Grades of Green Team with their peers to teach proper lunchtime sorting habits and encourage students to pack trash free lunches.
After learning some best practices in implementing waste sorting stations and encouraging students to pack trash free lunches, the Prisk Green Team helped lead an educational assembly highlighting their school’s new waste sorting system. Green Team students held up actual examples of lunchtime items and taught students which bin the items would go in between a food donation box, liquids bucket, compost bin, recycling bin, landfill bin, and tray stacking box. They even took volunteer shifts at lunchtime to make sure there were sorting monitors to help each student sort their waste. At the end of their first day implementing the waste reduction program, the Prisk student Green Team was able to help their school go from fifteen bags of lunchtime trash down to just six!
Inspired to implement a student-led eco-program at your school? Sign up for Grades of Green’s Spring 2018 Water Challenge by clicking here, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
At Grades of Green, we are often asked if our lunchtime waste reduction activity can be successful at bigger schools, such as middle schools. Great news – schools with a high student population can make a big dent in waste reduction! Los Angeles middle schools participating in our Trash Free Lunch Challenge, such as Robinson K-8 Academy from Long Beach Unified School District, constantly remind us that all kids have the potential to care for the environment no matter what their age. Robinson K-8 Academy started off the 2017-2018 school year with approximately 1,000 students generating sixty bags of lunchtime trash.
After a school-wide assembly demonstrating Robinson K-8 Academy’s new waste sorting system, the school worked together as a community to decrease their lunchtime trash. The Female Leadership Academy students championed the effort, and helped form a Grades of Green Team. The student leaders taught peers where each lunchtime item went between a donation box, liquids bucket, compost bucket, recycling bin, and landfill bin. They even trained their younger elementary school level Grades of Green Team members how to be waste sorting monitors. At the end of the day, the entire Robinson K-8 Academy Grades of Green team helped their school reduce its lunchtime trash from sixty bags down to just seven! That’s a whopping 88% waste reduction in just one day.
Interested in signing up your school for an eco-competition? Click here to learn more about Grades of Green’s Spring 2018 Water Challenge, and email us at email@example.com for more details!
In just one year, Grades of Green can help an entire school transform student attitudes on waste reduction. Last year, Cesar Chavez Elementary from Long Beach Unified School District competed in Grades of Green’s 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge. At the beginning of the Challenge, the school created twenty-five bags of lunchtime trash. Grades of Green challenged the school to set up a sorting station composed of a share box for uneaten cafeteria food, a compost bin for fruit and veggie scraps, a recycling bin, a landfill bin, and a tray-stacking station. Not only did students help create the stations, but they were instrumental in making sure it was utilized properly. Lead teacher, Sherri Gonser, developed a schedule so that students from every class could help support and maintain the program. From there, additional students from all grade levels became spontaneously enthusiastic and involved as they saw the impact of their efforts. Today the school produces only 7 bags of trash a day – a 72% waste reduction! Cesar Chavez Elementary students became so accurate at lunchtime sorting that they won the title of “Best Super Sorters” in the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge.
After the Challenge ends, schools have the opportunity to focus on the long-term continuity of their waste reduction program. To help keep students excited and involved in waste reduction, Cesar Chavez Elementary applied for and won a grant that will be used to upgrade their waste reduction program. The school plans on using the grant to purchase new bins, a canopy to provide shade over their waste sorting stations, and even Grades of Green Team T-shirts for the entire school! Congratulations Cesar Chavez!
Interested in having your school compete in an eco-challenge? Join Grades of Green’s Spring 2018 Water Challenge to see how much water your school can save! For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.