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.
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!
After reducing their school’s lunchtime waste by 82% and diverting over 32,000 pounds of waste from landfills, Helen Keller Middle School was crowned the winning middle school of the 2018 Trash Free Lunch Challenge! Grades of Green celebrated Keller’s success with specials guests from the community. Board of Education Member Diana Craighead, Deputy Superintendent of Middle School Instruction Dr. Jill Baker, George Tsai from the Office of the Superintendent of Middle School Instruction, and Representative Herlinda Chico from Supervisor Hahn’s office all came to the campus congratulate the Helen Keller students on their hard work and achievements. Helen Keller’s Grades of Green Advisor, Cathy Procopio, gave a speech on why the deserved to win, such as the leadership of their outstanding student leaders. Upon recognizing each student on the Grades of Green Team with a certificate for the City of Long Beach, the school was presented with a $1,000 education grant from Northrop Grumman! After the presentations DJ Ozzie led a dance party with music and the students got to take photos with the Kings Ice Crew!
Interested in following in Helen Keller’s footsteps but don’t know where to start? Try setting up a “Share Box” in your cafeteria for unopened and unwanted cafeteria food and drinks. Anyone wishing to eat items from the Share Box may do so, and this prevents the food from going to waste! To read more about this idea, check out our Waste Sorting Station Activity.
Do you think your school has what it takes to win Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch Challenge? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how to join the 2019 Trash Free Lunch Challenge!
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!