This year, our Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge competition was extremely fierce. Although our panel of environmental experts could only choose one middle school and elementary school winner out of the 20 competing schools, each school overcame different obstacles and had their own unique accomplishments. Grades of Green celebrated each school with a personalized celebration, and the presentation of a certificate highlighting their best achievement in the program. Here’s how our runner-up schools celebrated completing the Trash Free Lunch Challenge so far:
South Pointe Middle School
South Pointe Middle School’s Grades of Green Advisor, Karen, presented awards and certificates to the Grades of Green Team student leaders during a live broadcast to the entire school. South Pointe Middle School reduced their waste by 87%!
Charles Helmers Elementary School
Charles Helmers Elementary School’s Grades of Green Advisor, Karen, presented awards during an afterschool assembly with the entire student body. Charles Helmers Elementary reduced their waste by 80%!
Our Lady of Guadalupe K-8
Our Lady of Guadalupe K-8’s Grades of Green Advisor, Robyn, presented the school’s awards during a morning assembly with the entire student body. City council member Stacey Armato congratulated the school on their environmental efforts and presented the Green Team with a certificate of recognition from the City of Hermosa Beach. Our Lady of Guadalupe K-8 reduced their waste by 63%!
Interested in starting a waste campaign in your school or community? Email email@example.com to learn how!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn more!
20 Los Angeles schools have been competing in Grades of Green’s 7th annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge, and have made some big changes! Grades of Green Team students are championing awesome waste reduction programs in their school communities, and are collectively diverting over 400 tons of trash from landfills. Each of these schools has truly embraced the program in their own way, and we are so proud of their efforts.
After careful review, we are proud to announce the 6 finalist schools!
Elementary School Finalists (in no particular order): Victor Elementary (Torrance), Charles Helmers Elementary (Santa Clarita), Our Lady of Guadalupe (Hermosa Beach)
Middle School Finalists (in no particular order): Oak Middle School (Los Alamitos), South Pointe Middle School (Walnut), Helen Keller dual immersion Middle School (Long Beach).
Winning schools will be selected at the end of March, and will be announced in April 2018.
Each school in the Trash Free Lunch Challenge was unique in their own way, and as such we are pleased to give the following awards of recognition:
Berkeley Hall K-8 – Best Compost Award
Carthay Center Elementary – Litter Busters Award
Castle Rock Elementary – Best Recycling Award
Cyrus J. Morris Elementary – Best Education Award
Evelyn Carr Elementary – Best Green Team Award
F.D. Roosevelt Elementary – Best Food Recovery Award
Gaspar de Portola Middle School – City Leaders Award
Jackie Robinson Academy K-8 – Green Leaders of Tomorrow Award
Nettie L. Waite Middle School – Most Determined Award
Overland Elementary – Greenest Community Award
St. Anthony K-8 – Green Stewards Award
Skyblue Mesa Elementary – Community Activists Award
Whittier Elementary – Most Inspirational
William F. Prisk Elementary – Super Sorters Award
This program would not be possible without the support of our amazing sponsors. We thank the following: Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Lush Cosmetics, Northrop Grumman, LA Kings Care Foundation, Los Angeles County 4th District, the Carton Council, and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation.
Check our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts next week to see who the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge winners will be!
Interested in registering your school for the 2018-2019 Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Email us at email@example.com for more information.
Are you interested in or already implementing Waste Sorting Stations at your school? Whether your waste sorting station is composed of a compost bucket, liquids bucket, recycling bins, landfill bins, and/or tray stacking, check out Grades of Green’s updated Waste Sorting Station Signage. Due to increasing demand from our 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge schools, we updated our signs to include a “clean trays” and “dirty trays” sign. By separating the clean trays from the dirty trays, your custodial team can ensure clean trays are recycled.
If you need help implementing Waste Sorting Stations at your school, click here to schedule a meeting with one of our Advisors today!
Grades of Green is honored to mentor 20 Los Angeles schools competing in our 7th annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Each school participates by setting up a Grades of Green Team, and developing a waste reduction program consisting of Trash Free Lunches and Waste Sorting Stations. After conducting an eco-consultation at the beginning of the school year with their Grades of Green Advisor, each school received a customized report with recommendations for rolling out a sustainable, student led program. Each school then received a school-wide assembly to generate excitement around their waste reduction program and educate students on how to utilize their school’s new waste sorting station as well as pack trash free lunches.
All schools averaged a waste reduction rate of 67% on just their first day of kicking off the program! These rock star schools are collectively on track to divert a total of 4,950 pounds of waste from landfills every day. It’s now up to each school to continue educating their students, maintain their waste sorting stations, and improve their waste reduction rate. In March, a panel of environmental experts will decide which middle and elementary school will win the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge and take home a $1,000 grant to improve their environmental programs.
Thank you to our sponsors who helped make this year’s program possible: LA County Sanitation District, Lush, Northrop Grumman, LA County 3rd District, LA County 4th District, City of Santa Monica, Carton Council, Johnson Ohana Foundation, LA Kings Care Foundation
Interested in helping your school reduce its waste? Click here to register and check out Grades of Green’s Waste Activities! Want to take one of our Activities and turn it into a student powered movement? Click here to check out our latest Facebook Webinar on how to create a movement!
Did you know Grades of Green offers over 40 Activities to empower students to create environmental change in their community? Whether students are interested in water conservation, energy conservation, toxins reduction, or waste reduction, Grades of Green has a hands on, fun Activity with step-by-step instructions, downloadable resources, and more! If you are interested in tackling waste, one of Grades of Green’s most popular Waste Activities was Trash Free Lunches. However, we have recently refined this Activity and split it into two separate Activities: Trash Free Lunches and Waste Sorting Station.
The Trash Free Lunches Activity focuses on students spreading awareness about the need to create less trash through the use of reusable items, while also teaching kids how to pack their own trash free lunch. This is a great Activity for schools where a large portion of their student population brings their lunch to school.
The Waste Sorting Station Activity focuses on diverting waste from landfills by creating a waste sorting station where kids can sort their garbage into various containers. This is a great Activity for schools where a large portion of their student population receives lunch from the cafeteria.
For the best waste-reduction results, we recommend schools pair these Activities together! Schools that have competed in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge have all paired these two website Activities together to reduce and average of 70% of their lunchtime waste, with winning schools reducing over 90% of their lunchtime waste.
Interested in signing up your school for an eco-competition? Check out Grades of Green’s Spring 2018 Water Challenge and click here to register!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more details!
This year, twenty Los Angeles schools are competing in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge to see who can be the best at reducing their lunchtime waste the most by inspiring kids to care for the environment. Over the past seven years, the Trash Free Lunch Challenge has supported 117 schools divert 2,300 tons of waste. Schools are making such a big difference that the story was picked up by a local publication! Check out the article featured in Southern California Sustainable Living to read more about the program, and get inspired to go trash free in your home or school!
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 email@example.com.