Three local elementary schools are taking part in a contest to eliminate trash from school lunches. (Kevin Herrera kevinh@smdp.com)

Three local elementary schools are taking part in a contest to eliminate trash from school lunches. (Kevin Herrera kevinh@smdp.com)

SMMUSD HDQTRS — A trio of Santa Monica elementary schools will take on 20 other schools from across Southern California in a contest to see how much waste they can eliminate from their lunches.

Franklin, Grant, and McKinley elementary schools are the participants in the third annual Trash Free Lunch Challenge. The competition was established by the Manhattan Beach-based nonprofit Grades of Green, which has rapidly grown to become international in scope with more than 136,000 student members and focuses on educating children about environmental stewardship.

“The competition’s aim is to see who can change habits and reduce lunch-time trash by the greatest amount and sustainability,” said Susan Kretschmer, director of operations for Grades of Green.

Stephan Corbel, co-chair of McKinley Elementary School’s Sustainability and Beautification Committee and Principal Irene Gonzalez-Castillo were excited to submit the contest to the school to help students learn and participate in green events.

“The competition will have a very positive impact on the student attitudes and behaviors,” said Corbel in an e-mail. “Not only will they reconsider what they trash and reduce their quantity of trash, but they will work together as team players and emphasize the notion of community.”

Last year, Lunada Bay Elementary in Palos Verdes won the competition by reducing its trash by 87.5 percent.

Councilman Terry O’Day praised the program’s success and said that it will help the next generation of students reduce pollution in their schools.

“The kids who reported to us were impressive and they have accomplished many results and learned quite a bit,” O’Day said.

Once every school finishes the trash-free contest, Grades of Green will select three finalists through an application process and a panel of expert environmentalists.

For more information, visit gradesofgreen.org.

 

editor@smdp.com