Zero Waste Lunch Challenge
6th Annual Zero Waste Lunch Challenge
What is the “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge?
The “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge is sponsored by the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority to demonstrate how students can reduce the amount of waste they produce. If students can learn to make less trash at lunch, they can apply it to other aspects of everyday life. The “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge aims to show students that simply throwing items away after use wastes valuable natural resources and energy. The Authority hopes to inspire students to make small changes, like packing “zero waste” lunches, to make a difference in the Earth’s health.
Who can participate?
The “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge is open to all public or private k-12 school buildings located in Oneida or Herkimer Counties. The entire school building must participate in the challenge. Schools will be divided into two categories: Elementary School and Middle/High School. DOWNLOAD REGISTRATION FORM HERE.
What is the Criteria for Evaluation?
The winning school in each category will be based on the lowest percentage of waste per capita. On the day of the challenge, students will need to plan their lunchtime meal to eliminate leftovers and packaging that would become trash. Meals should be packed in reusable or recyclable containers. The school should provide opportunities to recycle. In addition, if your school has the ability to compost organic food waste (i.e. vegetable waste, fruit, fruit peels and rinds), it should be collected for composting. Planning your school’s “Zero Waste” Lunch with the cafeteria staff is suggested. On the day of the challenge, the school will need a scale to weigh the waste (i.e., nurse’s office scale). The amount of waste produced by students will be divided by the number of participating students to find the per capita results. If your school does not have a scale available, please contact Authority School Recycling Coordinator, Jamie Tuttle, at (315) 733-1224 ext. 2300 or via e-mail at email@example.com.
When is the “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge?
The “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge can take place at your school any day from March 28th - May 6th. Your school can choose the day in which the Challenge will be held. The official Challenge is only one day, but many schools practice over several weeks. Your school’s Challenge results must be submitted to Jamie Tuttle by May 6, 2016. The winning schools will be announced on May 9, 2016.
Schools that wish to participate in the challenge must register by March 25, 2016.
What Will Schools Receive if They Participate?
One school building from each category will win the grand prize.
Second place schools in each category will also be awarded this year.
All participating schools will receive a framed certificate for participating, and all students that earn a zero waste lunch will receive a small prize.
The winning school from the Elementary School category will be awarded the Utica “Zoomobile.” The Utica Zoo will bring four animals in its “Zoomobile” to the school and give presentations to all of the grade levels! The Utica Zoo staff will explain that keeping our environment healthy is also important for animals, and that through students’ practicing the 3Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle) they are making a difference! The Authority will work with your school to incorporate other aspects of your curriculum into the presentations as well. The presentations will be scheduled on a day convenient for the winning school building.
The winning school from the Middle/High School category will be awarded appearances from KISS FM deejays. The deejays set up a booth and perform a live remote radio broadcast from your school which will involve playing music and interviewing students. This could take place during lunch periods or any other time during the day that is convenient.
In addition, the winning schools’ Green Teams will be awarded tours of the Authority’s Recycling Center. Transportation costs will be paid by the Authority. The Single Stream Recycling Center uses state-of-the-art technology to sort recyclables. Students will be able to see the process and learn what happens to recyclables once they are picked up from school or home! Students will also see what happens to garbage once it leaves school or home and learn about other Authority recycling programs!
This year, the second place school from each category will be awarded reusable water bottles for each student in the school building.
How to Register for the Challenge:
To compete in the “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge, schools must register as a participant by March 25, 2016. Schools can register by returning the registration form to Jamie Tuttle, Authority School Recycling Coordinator via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, fax at 733-2305 or by mailing to the form to 1600 Genesee Street, Utica, NY, 13502.
The goal of this challenge is to increase student awareness and involvement in waste reduction, reuse, recycling, and environmental awareness through collaboration and partnership with participating schools. No schools “lose” in this challenge. All participants win through their achievements in practicing waste reduction, reuse, recycling and environmental awareness.
Ways to Organize the “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge:
Teachers, students, and/or parents can help with organizing the challenge for the entire school building. This will involve educating students and faculty about packing a zero waste lunch, promoting awareness of the Challenge, and helping out in the cafeteria on the actual day of the Challenge. In addition, the Authority’s School Recycling Coordinator can assist schools with the preparation for the Challenge, assist them on the day of the Challenge, as well as answer any questions your school has regarding zero waste lunches. Sign up early!
Here are some fun ideas that can help you involve your entire school building in the competition, as well as help your school achieve success!
- Make the “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge become a competition between grade levels.
- Develop daily announcements for promoting waste prevention and recycling for the days leading up to the Challenge.
- Post bulletin boards or notices in the halls that promote the “Zero Waste” Lunch Challenge.
- If you would like a template for a send-home memo or to use in a school newsletter, please contact Jamie Tuttle.
Call Jamie Tuttle, the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority’s School Recycling Coordinator, at (315) 733-1224 ext. 2300 or email at email@example.com.