Green Genius Cafeteria Challenge Winners Fall 2018

Congratulations to our schools that participated in this year’s Green Genius Cafeteria Challenge!  The City of Bellevue and Bellevue School District challenged schools to reduce garbage in the cafeteria for America Recycles Day. The challenge was created seven years ago to encourage schools to create and implement a lunch waste reduction campaign during the first few weeks of November. This year a new record was set with 21 schools participating, representing 14,000 students and staff!

Schools with the lowest waste per student at lunch:

First Place

  • Elementary: Puesta del Sol with 546 students on measurement day was able to reduce waste to just 2.9 grams per student. This is the same weight as one single penny! Strategies the school used included: posters, parent and teacher newsletters, student green team and teachers dressed up as recycle, garbage, compost showing where items go.
  • Middle: Tillicum with more than 980 students was able to reduce waste to 13.9 grams per student or the weight of two quarters! Strategies the school used included: students and parents helping students sort at lunch.
  • High: Newport with 1,685 students was able to reduce waste to 28 grams per student or the weight of four quarters! Strategies the school used included: the Environmental Club made announcements and helped other students sort properly at lunch.

Second Place

  • Elementary: Jing Mei with 414 students reduced waste to 3.1 grams per student or less than the weight of a nickel! Strategies the school used included: students made posters and presented to classrooms on how to properly sort materials and how to reduce waste.

Third Place

  • Elementary: Somerset 660 students generated 4.5 grams per student which is also less than the weight of a nickel. They used the following strategies: graphed progress, students recruited Green Captains, and sent information home to parents on waste free lunches.

Each of the schools listed above will receive recycled, engraved trophies to display. As in previous years, results were extremely close and very competitive. We look forward to a rematch in April!

According to the EPA, the average American student generates 67 pounds of lunch garbage per school year.  On measurement day, all 21 schools combined generated 573 pounds of garbage for 13,700 students. Using reported weights from the contest day, the average Bellevue student would generate just under 7.5 pounds of garbage for the entire year. This is a less than twelve percent of the national average!