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200,000 Ontario Elementary students Unite in the Waste Minimization Fight!

Date January 18, 2012 Author Jason Smith Categories Media Releases

Ontario Waste-Free Lunch Challenge: Where less is more!

WFLC 2012TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2012 /CNW/ - For some, the concept of sorting and weighing lunch waste might seem like a sticky, smelly nuisance. Not so for the 200,000 Ontario elementary students that participated in Recycling Council of Ontario’s 2011 Waste-Free Lunch Challenge. These students have embraced environmentalism wholeheartedly and proven that waste minimization is as easy as reduce, reuse, recycle!

During Waste Reduction Week in Canada, nearly 800 schools from 62 different school boards across the province participated in the Annual Waste-Free Lunch Challenge. During the week, participating schools were able to prevent and divert 25 tonnes of lunch material from entering the landfill—that is roughly the weight of two school buses! 

“Students have passionately committed to going waste-free. Their results are incredible! Many schools were successfully able to measure individual students’ lunch waste to under 10 grams—that is roughly the weight of two nickels!” said Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario. “The students have clearly demonstrated how simple changes make all the difference.”

Designed to help schools reduce the amount of garbage they generate from lunches, the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge educates students, staff and parents about waste and its impacts.  Students were taught how to pack waste-free lunches that use reusable, refillable and recyclable containers. Schools sorted, weighed and recorded their lunchtime waste generation throughout the week— and the lightest schools won!

Thirty schools were recognized as the most successful in reducing the amount of waste generated and will each receive a grand prize donated by Metro Ontario Inc and Tetra Pak Canada, the program’s two corporate partners. Grand prize winners will receive educational experiences for their students, or, $1000 environmental grant for use in school-based environmental projects.

“We are honored to partner with RCO & Metro and proactively support a program that raises students’ and schools’ awareness about the key role they play in reducing waste in landfills. Together, we will protect what’s good for future generations by giving carton packaging a second life and promoting carton recycling,” said Elisabeth Comere, Director, Environment and Government Affairs, Tetra Pak Inc. “We congratulate all of the 200,000 students that participated in this year’s Waste-Free Lunch Challenge.”

“The Waste-Free Lunch Program has helped educators across the province offer hands-on environmental lessons for Ontario students and Metro is proud to be a part of this great Program” said Johanne Choinière, Senior Vice President, Metro Ontario Inc.

Educational skits, school assemblies, 3D posters, songs, student-created videos, recycling sculptures, invitations to political leaders, and front lobby displays communicating daily results are just some of the activities that informed and motivated program participants to continue to reduce their lunch waste.

For more information about the program and view the winning schools at: Recycling Council of Ontario, Metro Ontario and Tetra Pak Canada are delighted to announce the winners of the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge:

  • DSB of Niagara: Nelles P.S.
  • Durham Catholic DSB: Holy Family Catholic Elementary, St. Bridget Catholic School and St. Matthew the Evangelist Catholic School
  • Durham DSB:  Frenchman's Bay P.S.
  • Halton Catholic DSB: Our Lady of Peace and St. Andrew
  • Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic DSB: Holy Name of Mary and St. Marguerite d'Youville
  • Hamilton-Wentworth DSB: Fessenden P.S., A.M. Cunningham P.S., Mountain View P.S.
  • Keewatin-Patricia DSB: New Prospect School
  • Peel DSB: Kingswood Drive Public School
  • Peterborough Victoria Northumberland and Clarington Catholic DSB: St. Paul
  • Toronto Catholic DSB: St. Martha and Christ the King Catholic Elementary School
  • Toronto DSB: Brookhaven PS, Burrows Hall Jr. P.S., Cresthaven Public School, Rivercrest Junior School, Smithfield Middle School, Millwood Junior School, St. George's Junior School, Summit heights public school and The Waterfront School and Yorkview Public School
  • Upper Grand DSB: Primrose Elementary School
  • York Region DSB: Silver Stream P.S.
  • Halton Waldorf School

Learn more about Metro Ontario at  Learn more about Tetra Pak Canada at

About The Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO)
The Recycling Council of Ontario’s (RCO) Waste-Free Lunch Challenge is an environmental education program that aims to support educators and students to reduce waste generated from school lunches. RCO is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. Please visit

For interview opportunities, please contact:
Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario at or 416-657-2797, ext. 3.



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