Since 2011, Grades of Green has worked with schools across southern California to divert 1,740 tons of waste from landfills by setting up waste sorting stations, composting, and more through the Trash Free Lunch Challenge program! This spring, Grades of Green is expanding our waste reduction program to empower 200 student teams across the globe to tackle regional waste issues.
Starting in January, Grades of Green is launching our four-month Waste Campaign for 6th-12th grade students to engage eco-heroes across the globe to take action to reduce waste and develop sustainable, student-led solutions to waste issues relevant to their region. A Waste Campaign Team (a group of students, educators and community leaders) researches local waste issues, develops a solution to a water issue, and shares that idea with the community. Thanks to our sponsors, this program is free to all students, and Grades of Green will even provide personalized virtual mentorship, student leadership training, webinars featuring waste experts, waste conservation resources, and the opportunity to connect with other participating teams across the globe. Winning Campaign Teams, announced in April, will also receive up to $1,000 in Eco-Grant prizes to fund their innovative solutions. Check out this video to learn more!
The Waste Campaign is open to 200 teams of students across the globe. Campaign teams can come from schools, after-school programs, sports teams, community teams, and more! Each team needs at least 5 student members and one adult lead to supervise.
Do you know three students that are up for the challenge? Nominate them now! To join the Waste Campaign, have an adult lead complete this Google Form by January 11th!
REGISTER FOR THE SPRING WASTE CAMPAIGN HERE!
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!
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!
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!
The 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge officially kicked off at our 7th annual Training Day event. Grades of Green Team representatives from the 23 Los Angeles schools competing in this year’s Challenge visited the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County to explore best practices in helping their school to decrease lunchtime waste. The Sanitation Districts gave attendees a tour of the closed down Puente Hills Landfill and Materials Recovery Facility to give the students, teachers, parents, custodial staff, and administrators alike a better understanding of how waste is managed, and the importance of reducing waste.
Along with the tour, school representatives came away from training day with a Trash Free Lunch Challenge Handbook, the inside scoop about best practices for the Challenge, and big prize bag of goodies from our partners including products from Algalita, Dabbawalla Bags, Funkins, Dopper, Green Toys, Go Green Lunchbox, Legends Socks, To Go Ware, Klean Kanteen, Planet Wise and U Konserve.
Interested in seeing Training Day in action? Click here to check out the photos!
Thank you to our incredible partners who help us bring the Trash Free Lunch Challenge to life. A special shout out to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Northrop Grumman, City of Santa Monica, County of Los Angeles 3rd district, County of Los Angeles 4th district, Kings Care Foundation, Carton Council, and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation for making the Trash Free Lunch Challenge possible!
Interested in getting the inside scoop on some of the best practices discussed at Training Day? One of the crucial components of the Trash Free Lunch Challenge is setting up a solid Grades of Green Team. Join us for a free, interactive webinar on October 12th, 2017 to learn best practices! For more information about the Getting Started Webinar, click here.
Grades of Green is thrilled to be partnering with 22 Los Angeles elementary, middle and K-8 schools in our 7th annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Each year, schools compete to see who can be the best at inspiring and empowering students to care for the environment by reducing their lunchtime waste. Stemming from Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunches Activity, the Challenge encourages students to reduce, reuse and recycle to create a healthier environment. On average, participating schools reduce their trash by 72%, and winning schools reduce by over 90%. Grades of Green is able to support 25 schools in this year’s Challenge, meaning we have just 3 spots left!
Interested in getting your school involved in the Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Email us today if you’d like to learn more and to save your spot at email@example.com.
The 2017-2018 school year is underway, and the Grades of Green staff is thrilled to be visiting our awesome schools again! Many schools who have competed in Grades of Green’s Los Angeles based Trash Free Lunch Challenge have invited us to help them kick off the new school year on a “green” foot through an assembly. During our waste reduction assembly, we explain the importance of caring for the earth, and how students can make a difference by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Students learn how packing trash free, composting, and recycling leads to a healthier planet, and how easy it is to make these little changes a daily habit.
Interested in getting your school involved in the Trash Free Lunch Challenge? There are still a few spots left! Email us today if you are interested in learning more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hawthorne schools Prairie Vista Middle School, Ramona Elementary, and York Elementary were all recognized in the City of Hawthorne’s Recycle Today Newsletter for their participation and excellence in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Check out the story and get ready to be inspired by clicking here! Interested in joining the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Contact email@example.com for more information.
Viewpoint School, a participant in the Grades of Green 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge has been recognized by TreePeople Blog for all of their environmental efforts including composting and waste reduction! Check out the story by clicking here!
Grades of Green’s 6th annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge schools are rockin’ it in the New Year! As of January 2017, all schools have kicked off their lunchtime waste reduction program and are reducing bags of trash each day with support from Grades of Green. These schools are making big changes, and Grades of Green is so proud of each school’s accomplishments thus far. Check out the halftime report here for all of the details! Interested in joining the 2017-2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge? The wait list is now open. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to save your spot today!