Enjoy Hockey? Watch the LA Kings Go!

The LA Kings have joined forces with Grades of Green to promote environmental action. The LA Kings Team have made serious environmental changes to help the planet. Just last month, the LA Kings celebrated the past Earth month by building edible gardens, installing solar panels, and by promoting Grades of Green’s upcoming Fall Water Campaign. In addition to their on the ground actions, they have encouraged fans to save water, conserving over 1,000,000 gallons of water on World Water Day!

Check out their blog post to see all of their environmental activities HERE.

When hockey season rolls around again in October, you’ll know who to cheer for- the environmentally active LA Kings!

Grades of Green’s First Waste Campaign a Major Success

This new Campaign included 80 teams from 77 cities and 13 countries. Collectively, Grades of Green Waste Campaign teams diverted over 229,000 pounds of waste (114 tons) from the landfill and educated over 25,000 leaders and community members around the world! These numbers will continue to grow as the student teams expand on their waste reduction projects.

We are proud to announce the 2019 Spring Waste Campaign Finalist Campaign Teams, who achieved exceptional results. Please watch and share their campaign videos to get inspired by their innovative waste solutions.

Mira Costa High School (California)

Mira Costa’s team led 3 beach clean ups in their community during the month of March. They recruited volunteers by reaching out to their community through social media and local news outlets. The team educated participants about the effects of plastic and litter in our oceans and on our marine life. The result of the 3 beach clean-ups was about 250 lbs of trash; crushing their goal of 100 lbs. The team plans to continue hosting beach clean ups once per month. See their video HERE.

Human Environmental and Animal Rights Club at CAMS (California)

The HEAR Club at CAMS high school was driven by the knowledge that people, on average, throw out 70 lbs of clothes every year and that the textile industry is the second highest contributor of waste. This team hosted several used-clothing drives as well as workshops that taught others how to upcycle used garments. They exceeded their goal to collect 10 bags during the clothing drives by collecting 11 bags. Some clothes were donated and some were upcycled into new garments. See their video HERE.

Whitney High School (California)

At Whitney, the Waste Campaign Team members recognized that everyday a considerable amount of food waste was going to the landfill. By implementing a compost collection at lunchtime, the team collected about 30 lbs of food waste to put into their tumbler composter bin during the campaign. They continue to collect compostable scraps at lunchtime, educate the students and staff at their school and fundraise in order to buy a second (much needed) compost bin. See their video HERE.

Bridgeport Elementary School Green Team (California)

During the Waste Campaign, the Team working at lunch noticed the large number of good food items being thrown into the landfill bin. They were appalled, and wanted that food to go somewhere it could be eaten. The team decided they wanted to donate the food to the local Food Pantry and Homeless Shelter, and the Grades of Green mentors provided resources and guidance to help best put ideas into action. In order to raise awareness and encourage other schools in their community to start a Food Rescue program, Bridgeport shared their video and program with all the families at their school and with all the schools in their district. See their video HERE.

Daves Avenue Elementary School (California)

Daves Avenue uses approximately 12,000 crayons every school year and as the Waste Campaign students discovered, crayons do not break down well in the landfill. With a goal in mind of diverting 120 lbs of crayons from the landfill, the team joined the Crayon Initiative. The Crayon initiative recycles old crayons into new crayons and donates them to children’s hospitals. The team set up boxes to collect the crayons to send them in to get recycled. See their video HERE.

Bryant Ranch School Green Team (California)

The team of 30 students recognized their school was wasting a lot of paper. They analyzed one class per grade level to get an estimate of how much paper is used and wasted. They collected boxes that were filled up completely to sort out those that are only 1-sided to be used again. For the paper that could not be reused, they put 3 actions in place: 1. find a paper recycling agency to take the bulk paper goods 2. shred them for packaging at school and 3. turn scrap paper into art projects for classrooms, including origami, bookmarks, and paper mache. See their video HERE.

Boys and Girls Club at Towne Avenue Elementary (California)

The Boys and Girls Club at Towne Elementary estimated that 100 milk cartons are destined for the landfill from their school everyday. They learned that it takes about 5 years for a milk carton to break down in the landfill and wanted to start recycling cartons at their school. They educated all the students and staff and created a fun basketball game as a way to encourage students to recycle their cartons and have fun with it. See their video HERE.

Will Rogers Learning Community (California)

The team at Will Rogers recognized a huge issue at lunchtime: 25 bags of landfill waste everyday. With the help of a few dedicated parents, the team set up sorting stations at lunch to separate liquids, recyclables, organic waste, landfill and trays. Since implementing the stations, over the course of the Waste Campaign, they decreased lunch time landfill waste by 85 trash bags by implementing sorting stations. They also decorated recycling boxes for all classrooms to increase paper recycling on campus.

Deep Creek Middle School (Virginia)

This innovative team created a virtual “Escape Room” to inform students about tackling waste. Specifically focused on single use plastics. Along with the Escape Room, they implemented “Plastic Free Fridays” encouraging fellow students to replace single use items with reusable items. They had the opportunity to present to their school board about the excess waste created by the food provider, including wrapping oranges in plastic wrap! See their video HERE.

PSGR Krishnammal Nursery and Primary School (India)

Students at this school took food waste VERY seriously. This team made sure that all food on campus was eaten or composted. In addition, the school made presentations and a song to show the importance of not wasting food. They involved their entire community including all students, parents, administration, school board, and government representatives. The team also had goals to limit plastic, reduce all waste going to the landfill – not just food waste, and to store food properly to reduce spoiled food.

Meadows Elementary (California)

This team made a series of “how to” videos that taught their fellow students and community how to reduce waste, pack trash free lunches, and how to properly sort their waste at lunch. They also added on the Food Finders program so that any unopened cartons of food or beverages or unpeeled fruit could be donated to local families in need of food. The students have been dedicated to educated staff, administration, and parents through their “how to” videos. See their video HERE.

Bottega Delle Arti Creative (Italy)

Like to dance? Bottega Dance School has made public performances to educate others about Rome’s environmental issues and infrastructural problems. The main issue the high schoolers focused on was overflowing garbage bins throughout the city. Along with their innovative video, they have presented the problem through conferences and art exhibitions. See their video HERE.

Hughes Green Team (California)

The Hughes team found that the use of single-use condiment packets was a big waste issue on their campus. The packets end up becoming litter and often ends up in the ocean. The students prepared a proposal for the LBUSD Nutrition Services Department to switch from single-use condiment packets to sauce dispensers. They met with their district’s Nutrition Services Manager to discuss the solution even further!

Feeling inspired?! Join Grades of Green for our 2019 Fall Water Campaign here. And stay tuned for an update on the new theme for our Campaign teams!

We’ve all heard the rule that we shouldn’t feed wildlife, but what happens when the wildlife feed themselves human food? Green Team students at El Segundo Middle School noticed that birds would fly onto their campus and eat lunchtime waste from open trash bins and litter scattered across campus – food sources that are unhealthy for birds. Unfortunately, this trash eating habit is a common issue for birds near coastal schools.

Through the Waste Campaign, these eco-leaders determined that their solution is to educate their entire school community to properly sort their lunchtime waste between their compost, recycling, and landfill bins through classroom-to-classroom presentations. The team will also prevent birds from accessing the school’s waste by obtaining special lids for their bins and motivating their school community to keep their campus litter-free. This prevents litter from affecting the environment which would direct birds towards healthier food and more natural food sources.

Interested in implementing an eco-solution in your community like the El Segundo Middle School Green Team? Click here to sign up for the Fall 2019 Water Campaign wait list to receive more information about the program.

Did you know that it takes 5 years for a cardboard milk carton to decompose in a landfill? After playing Grades of Green’s “How Long Until It’s Gone” eco-game, students at the Boys and Girls Club at Towne Avenue Elementary in Carson, CA learned how long it took for different items to decompose in a landfill.

Boys and Girls Club Students teamed up to form “Team Towne,” a team dedicated to recycling milk cartons provided during snack time to reduce the amount of waste going into landfills. With over 100 students in the Club, Team Towne hopes to recycle over 1,000 milk cartons by the end of the school year with 90% accuracy.

Interested in implementing an eco-solution in your community? Click here to sign up for the Fall 2019 Water Campaign wait list to receive more information about the program.

Did you know that 80% of office waste is recyclable?  Whether it be paper, plastic, food, or batteries, there are many workspace items that end up in the landfill that can and should be diverted. In Los Angeles, the Grades of Green office is located at a shared workspace called Bizhaus.  BizHaus El Segundo recently upgraded its recycling programs by implementing a compost bucket and e-waste collection bin with the help of Grades of Green!

In January 2018, Grades of Green set up a compost bucket in the BizHaus El Segundo kitchen. Members learned that instead of simply throwing away their fruit and veggie scraps in the trash can where it would end up in a landfill, they could instead place these food scraps in the compost bucket where the nutrients would either be composted and returned to the soil or recycled and converted into energy. This results in up to 5 pounds of food waste being diverted from landfills each week!

E-waste items like batteries, keyboards, and phones contain toxins that can contaminate the environment if thrown in the trash and left in a landfill. Instead, these items need to be disposed of in a proper recycling facility. This past school year, Grades of Green eco-leaders Lauren and Gaby implemented e-waste drives at their schools and reached out to BizHaus El Segundo to collect items from all the members. Even after their e-waste drives ended, many BizHaus members realized they still had a lot of e-waste that needed to be disposed of properly. This inspired BizHaus El Segundo to start their own e-waste collection bin. Although it’s been less than a week, BizHaus members are already placing items in the Grades of Green e-waste bin!

Lauren and Gabby inspired an entire business to make an environmentally friendly change. Do you want to inspire your school or community to improve water quality or promote water conservation but don’t know where to start?  Click here to learn about Grades of Green’s Fall 2018 Water Campaign!

Across the world, Grades of Green Schools are completing a variety of environmental activities!

A few schools have been tackling plastic waste, like Daves Ave Elementary. Other schools have been preoccupied with water conservation and water quality, like St. Roza. In Florida, one ambitious Grades of Green Team is preparing to promote environmental awareness for Earth Week! Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic School’s Grades of Green Team is currently ramping up their efforts to engage their school!

Throughout the semester, the team worked on a presentation on plastic waste and ocean contamination. They hope to distribute the presentation throughout the school’s televisions to educate students about waste and environmental issues during lunch and passing periods. Their Grades of Green Team is also working on placing posters or “Recycling Rovers” near recycling bins so that students can easily see what waste is able to recycle. Lastly, the team has introduced a raffle to provide incentives for school members to engage in the “Recycled Art” activity! Participants who complete the activity are entered for a chance to win a prize!

Commitment and Beyond

Saint Mary Magdalen Catholic School isn’t just committed to the environment during Earth Week- their highly organized team has made plans to keep their momentum going for next year. Next semester, the team plans to host a field trip to educate and inspire new members in their team. Although the planning is still in its early phases, the team is sure that the trip can instill an appreciation for Earth’s beauty and the need to engage in environmental action!

In addition, the school will collaborate with Clean the World during the Fall semester to reduce waste created from soap bars remains. By recycling used soap bars, the school can help create create and provide clean shampoos and other hygienic materials for those in need around the world.

We can’t wait to see how Earth Week turns out for this ambitious team!

Want to join an awesome network schools fighting to improve the environment? Click here to become a Grades of Green school!

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 info@gradesofgreen.org today to learn more!

Resourceful and Daring!

Kanwal, a Grades of Green student in Pakistan, continues to impress! Last semester, she noticed that environmental education was lacking in her community. Moreover, the lack of trash and recycling infrastructure did her no favors. Thus, the ambitious student took matters into her own hands and organized a “Single Use Plastic” Seminar last year. With environmental experts and professors to talk about plastics, the seminar brought the hazards of plastic waste to her community.

Building Eco Momentum

After finding ways to make environmental issues relevant to her community, Kanwal has continued her passion to spread awareness to students. Being as resourceful as she is, Kanwal up-cycled thrown away cardboard and paper to make large presentations for her students. With these repurposed boards, she has reached out to over 600 students! The students have been receptive and enthusiastic to these messages of reusing goods and reducing dependency on plastic. With such a great response, Kanwal is hopeful that these kids will grow up to be amazing environmental advocates as well!

Thanks for sharing your passion in the environment with others, Kanwal!

Lindbergh STEM Academy in Long Beach, California, has been busy since winning the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Last year during the Challenge, Lindbergh reduced their lunchtime trash from 26 bags each day to just two bags; a whopping 92% reduction. The school created a Grades of Green Team consisting of passionate students who meet every Monday morning to ensure the eco-programs on campus are running smoothly. The Green Team manages the trash free lunch program, the compost program, and more.  At the start of the 2017-2018 school year, the Lindbergh Grades of Green team is rolling out in-class recycling, allowing all classrooms on campus to recycle paper, plastic, bottles and cans. Lindbergh is on their way to zero waste, and Grades of Green is thrilled to support their efforts!

Interested in starting a student Grades of Green Team like Lindbergh’s? Join us for our webinar on October 12th, 2017 to learn best practices! For more information about the Getting Started Webinar, click here.