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Ontario Elementary Schools Set the Standard for Waste Diversion

Date January 21, 2013 Author Jason Smith Categories Media Releases


TORONTO, ON (Jan. 21, 2013) As part of Waste Reduction Week, elementary schoolchildren across the province did not let their lunch go to waste. In fact, schoolchildren showed there was no waste at all.

The annual Waste-Free Lunch Challenge helps schools decrease the amount of garbage they produce, and educates students, staff and parents about waste reduction. Over 400 schools from 52 different school boards across Ontario took an active role in reducing waste by utilizing reusable, refillable and recyclable containers.

Over the course of one week, participating schools kept nearly 11,300 kg of lunch material from entering landfill – equivalent to 500 blue boxes full of waste. Schools sorted, weighed and recorded their lunchtime waste generation throughout the week, with the winners chosen from those that diverted the most waste.  

“The average recycling rate for residents across Ontario is 47 per cent,” says Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director, Recycling Council of Ontario. “The most successful schools diverted 100 per cent of their lunch waste from landfill during the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, and that proves the rest of us can learn a lot from them. ”

The Recycling Council of Ontario is happy to announce the 2012 winners of the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge:


  • Bluewater District School Board: Walkerton District Community School (Walkerton, ON)
  • Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario: J.L. Jordan Catholic School (Brockville, ON)
  • Durham District School Board:  Lord Elgin P.S. (Ajax, ON)
  • Halton Catholic District School Board: Our Lady of Peace School (Oakville, ON); St. Andrew Catholic School (Oakville, ON)
  • Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board: St. Marguerite d'Youville (Hamilton, ON)
  • Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board: Fessenden Public School (Ancaster, ON)
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board: Regina Mund (Toronto, ON ); Holy Child Catholic School (Etobicoke, ON); St. Ambrose Catholic Elementary (Toronto, ON)
  • Toronto District School Board: Cresthaven Public School (North York, ON)
  • Upper Grand District School Board: Primrose Elementary School (Shelburne, ON)
  • York Catholic District School Board: Holy Spirit Catholic Elementary School (Aurora, ON)

In past three years, approximately 350,000 students have participated in Waste-Free Lunch Challenge. Educational skits, school assemblies, 3D posters and dioramas, songs, student-created videos, recycling sculptures, appearances by government leaders, and front lobby displays communicating daily results are just some of the activities that inform and motivate program participants to continue to reduce their lunch waste.

Through the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, schools across Ontario also demonstrate a commitment to environmentalism and prove that waste minimization is as easy as reduce, reuse, recycle. Select winners receive an environmental grant for use in school-based environmental projects.

About the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge

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. Since 2010, over 350,000 children across Ontario have participated in the program. The RCO is a not-for-profit, membership-based organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. Please visit

For more information:

Cedric de Jager
Communications Manager
Recycling Council of Ontario
cedric @
416-657-2797, ext. 6





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