Jordan Middle School to Compete in Trash-Free Lunch Challenge

(Photo by Ross A. Benson)

David Starr Jordan Middle School in Burbank will participate in the third annual Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, an L.A. County contest that rewards schools for reducing lunchtime trash. Created by environmental education non-profit Grades of Green and sponsored in part by Warner Bros., the program has doubled in scope since its inception two years ago.

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.”

“Warner Bros. is proud to sponsor Grades of Green and the Trash-Free Lunch Challenge.  This forward-thinking program is a great hands-on way to teach kids to care for the environment by reducing waste,” said Kristine Pacifico, Philanthropy Director for Warner Bros.

Participating schools will ask students to eliminate trash by using reusable lunch containers, reusable water bottles and cloth napkins. All students, including those who buy lunch, will be taught how to sort waste for recycling and composting.

The 24 schools participating in this year’s Trash-Free Lunch Challenge are located in 14 Los Angeles area cities.

The competition gets underway October 2, when representatives from each school will attend a training session and tour of the Sanitation Districts of Los Angeles County’s 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.

Last year’s Grand Prize was awarded to Lunada Bay Elementary School in Palos Verdes Estates, which succeeded in reducing its lunchtime trash by 87.5%.