How do schools prepare to compete in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge? By attending Training Day of course! Student and staff representatives from the 25 schools competing in this year’s Challenge went to the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County on October 5th to learn helpful tips about what their school can do to reduce their lunchtime waste. The Sanitation Districts gave participants a tour of the Puente Hills Landfill and Materials Recovery Facility to give the students, teachers, parents, custodial staff, and administrators alike a better understanding of why it is so important to reduce their lunchtime waste. Along with the tour, school representatives came away from training day with a 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 AlgalitaBubi, Dabbawalla Bags, Funkins,  Go Green Lunchbox, Legends Socks, Klean Kanteen, and U Konserve. Click here to view more photos from Training Day. Thank you so much to those partners and our incredible sponsors at the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, Northrop Grummon, and Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation for making the Trash Free Lunch Challenge possible!

We are so excited to see the creative ways the competing schools implement Grades of Green’s waste Activities this year. Are you interested in reducing lunchtime waste at your school? Check out the Trash Free Lunches Activity to see how you can get started!



Willard Elementary School in Pasadena started their school year off on a green foot by having Grades of Green visit and give an assembly to remind students why it is important to reduce and sort their waste. Last year, students at Willard participated in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge and reduced their waste by 75%! They also won the award for the best campus composting program. Willard decided to keep their Trash Free Lunches program going and set a new goal to reduce their lunchtime waste to 2 bags of trash or less every day by packing trash free and sorting their waste correctly. Interested in reducing your campus waste by over 70%? Click here to register for the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge!

What can schools do after they participate in Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Vejar Elementary School decided to set a new goal to keep their Trash Free Lunches Program going! At the beginning of the 2015-2016 Trash Free Lunch Challenge, students at Vejar accumulated 15 bags of trash at lunchtime every day. After Grades of Green came and taught them about waste reduction and sorting, they reduced that amount to 6 bags of trash each day! In addition to reducing their waste by 60%, Vejar won the award for the best student led education program.

This year, their goal is to make 5 bags of trash or less each day! They kicked off their school year with a visit from Grades of Green where each grade level was reminded about the importance of packing trash free and using their sorting station correctly.

Interested in participating in the 2016-2017 Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Click here to register!