At this year’s YES! Fall Summit on October 3rd at Prairie Woods Environmental Learning Center students were responsible for bringing their own lunch. We thought this would be a great opportunity for the students to learn about waste. What better way to get the students excited than by creating a friendly competition? A waste-less lunch competition. The winning team would receive $50 toward a pizza party. The YES! teams were told about the competition in advance so they had time to think about what types of containers they would use, what foods to choose, and how much food to pack. The “waste” would include everything that is not consumed or reusable including food scraps, recycling, and garbage. Each team received a bucket that all the waste went into and after the competition the waste was weighed. However, not all waste is created equal so the food scraps were multiplied by 1, the recyclables by 2, and the garbage by 3. The waste total was divided by the number of team members. New London-Spicer Middle School and Mankato West High School tied for having zero waste. Many other teams were close behind with having as little as a mandarin orange peel in their bucket.
Overall the waste-less lunch competition was a huge success! We were so pleased to see how excited the students were and how serious many of them took the competition. Some of the students mentioned they want to try a waste-less lunch competition at their own schools.
Above is the New London-Spicer Middle School YES! team having their pizza party! The team used reusable plates, forks, and cups. The students also enjoyed salad grown in their school’s greenhouse with their pizza!
Written by Taylor Templer (YES! Interim West Central Coordinator)