Tag: Trash Free Lunch Challenge
A total of 24 different schools went up against one another in the 2015 Grades of Green Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Each school around the country was battling to see who could divert the most trash from their lunchrooms and who could make the biggest environmental change overall. Out of all the schools Oak Street Elementary School in Inglewood California managed to come out on top.
The Spoils of Victory
For coming out on top of the competition the children at Oaks elementary received a $1,000 prize and also got a chance to meet former Lakers player Steve Nash! He came out to their school to meet them all and spend the day there letting the children feel what it’s really like to work hard and come in first place.
Giving the Students the Tools for Success
At the beginning of the Contest Grades of Green provided the school with an educational assembly explaining sustainability and the goal of the competition. They also provided an eco-starter kit a personalized waste reduction plan and finally one-on-one mentoring to make sure that the students understood what they were doing.
Each of the children in the school was encouraged to bring in reusable lunch containers and slowly even the youngest among the school were taught how to recycle and properly take care of all their lunchtime waste.
The school won because it adopted the program so completely, and because it was taking other initiatives to improve the environment outside of lunch time. Second Grade teacher Claire Darsa is taking an opportunity to travel out to the edge of the Arctic in Northern Canada to study climate change and plans to bring back her discoveries and improved knowledge to the children of Oaks.
The most important part of the trash challenge isn’t teaching children about sustainability or the importance of saving the environment, it’s about teaching children the power that they have to make changes. Empowering all the children of the future generation is what Grades of Green is really offering and it will make some exciting changes possible in the future.
Created by environmental education non-profit Grades of Green and sponsored by the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County, as well as Santa Monica-based LAcarGUY, the third annual Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, an L.A. County contest that rewards schools for reducing lunchtime trash, has doubled in scope since its inception two years ago.
“LAcarGUY is thrilled to sponsor Grades of Green and the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge. There’s no better way to teach eco-friendly habits to the next generation,” said Mike Sullivan, founder and President of LAcarGUY.
The Trash-Free Lunch Challenge has diverted as many as 40,000 bags of trash from area landfills and saved schools thousands of dollars over two years. “With 24 schools in this year’s program, we expect to see nearly 30,000 more bags of trash diverted from the new schools alone,” said Lisa Coppedge, Grades of Green’s Director of Programs. “But what’s more important is that an additional 17,500 students will learn how to reduce, reuse, recycle and compost–new habits that will protect the environment in the years to come.”
The competition gets underway October 2, when representatives from each school will attend a training session and tour of the Sanitation Districts’ Puente Hills Landfill and Materials Recovery Facility.
Once the competing schools implement their Trash-Free Lunch programs, Grades of Green selects three finalists through an application process. A panel of environmental experts and other judges will evaluate the implementation and success of the three finalists’ programs. The winning school will receive a Grand Prize of a $1,000 education grant. The second- and third-place schools will receive $750 and $500, respectively.
Though the deadline has passed to compete in this year’s Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, any school may still initiate a Trash-Free Lunch program. Complete instructions are available at no cost to schools at www.gradesofgreen.org/initiatives/trash-redux/trash-free-tuesdays.
LAcarGUY is a proud sponsor of the Grades of Green Trash-Free Lunch Challenge and last week, three South Bay elementary schools were named finalists: Lunada Bay Elementary, Riviera Elementary and Washington Elementary. The contest, which is also sponsored by the Sanitation Districts of L.A. County and the Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation, teaches kids to reduce trash by using reusable lunch containers and by sorting compostable and recyclable materials.
Lunada Bay Elementary in Palos Verdes, Riviera Elementary in Torrance, and Washington Elementary in Redondo Beach were selected from a group of 17 entrants countywide.
A judging panel of five environmental experts will visit the three schools to select the winner on Tuesday, April 16, and the winning school will be honored with a celebration on Earth Day, Monday, April 22. All schools will receive education grants from Chevron. The winning school will receive a $1,000 grant. The second and third runners-up will receive a $750 grant and a $500 grant, respectively.
“All three finalists have achieved amazing results, so this is going to be one tough competition,” said Grace Robinson Chan, Sanitation Districts’ Chief Engineer and General Manager. “The three finalists in this year’s Trash-Free Lunch Challenge cut their trash destined for landfills by nearly 90% on average, which shows the astonishing potential for this program. It’s teaching kids how to protect the environment now and in the years to come.”
“Once we show kids how simple and how important it is to reduce waste, they get excited about the difference they can make, and start new habits that will carry with them for life,” said Lisa Coppedge, Grades of Green Co-Founder and Director of Programs. “Not only are they protecting the environment, they’re saving money for both their parents and their schools.” Coppedge noted that reduced trash pick-up fees saves thousands of dollars for each school that implements the Trash Free Lunch program.
The Trash-Free Lunch Challenge judging panel includes Alisha Auringer, Environmental and Sustainability Coordinator, LAcarGUY; Marieta Francis, Executive Director, Algalita Marine Research Foundation; Abby Landers, El Segundo High School Grades of Green club president and Youth Board Advisor for Grades of Green; Michelle Nakamura, Operations Manager, 5 Gyres Institute; and Rupam Soni, Senior Environmental Engineer, Sanitation Districts of L.A. County.
Schools are encouraged to implement Grades of Green’s Trash Free Lunch program at any time. There are also 40 other environmental activities with complete instructions available at no cost to schools at www.gradesofgreen.org.
LAcarGUY’s group of South Bay dealerships have partnered with Grades of Green to kick off the 2013 Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Grades of Green is challenging schools to reduced lunchtime waste by encouraging students to pack trash-free lunches and to sort waste into recycle, compost and landfill bins. The 4R System that Grades of Green introduced helped divert over 10,000 bags of trash and saved participating schools thousands of dollars in 2011-2012.
The project teaches students the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost)
- By bringing TRASH FREE each day, the students will make a difference at school by REDUCING lunch time landfill waste. They will know the number of landfill bags produced at lunch before the Challenge and by being TRASH FREE during the Challenge, they will see that number decrease.
- By bringing REUSABLE lunch boxes, water bottles, sandwich and snack containers each day they will reduce lunch time waste.
- The school will implement a sorting system during lunch which will include bins for: RECYCLING, ROT (compost), liquids and stacked trays. Educational games will teach students about WHAT items go into each bin and WHY.
- Each bin in the sorting system will be clearly labeled to support students in the proper sorting process. These signs will educate and reinforce the concepts of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and ROT.
The Grades of Green team has been visiting participating schools and holding assemblies to educate students and get them excited about the project. Applications to participate in the project are due March 15th and finalist chosen among those schools with the least amount of trash will be announced March 22nd. Judges will visit the finalists on April 16th and the winning school will be announced on April 22nd at the awards ceremony.
Participating schools include:
- Vista Mar High School
- Washington Elementary
- Riviera Elementary
- Lunada Bay Elementary
And supporting LAcarGUY dealerships are Pacific VW, Audi Pacific, Subaru Pacific and Pacific Porsche.