When it comes to lunchtime trash, less is definitely more. That’s the lesson environmental education nonprofit Grades of Green taught students during the fifth annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge (TFLC) this year.
Two of Santa Monica’s own, Edison Language Academy and Will Rogers Elementary School, are participating in the yearlong competition between 20 other selected Southern California schools to see which school can reduce their lunchtime waste the most while instilling environmental habits in the school community.
Since the Challenge began 5 years ago, over 74 schools have diverted 100,000 bags of trash. While the metrics speak to the success of participating schools in protecting our environment, the real results are the environmental values the students take home.
Participating schools asked students to eliminate trash by using reusable lunch containers, water bottles, and utensils, as well as cloth napkins. All students, including those who buy lunch, will be taught how to sort waste for recycling and composting. Through a combination of sorting and bringing reusable lunch containers, Challenge schools achieve a 72 percent average lunchtime waste diversion rate, with winning schools diverting over 92 percent.
For more information on Grades of Green visit www.gradesofgreen.org.