WHAT: For the first time in District history, students at Roosevelt Elementary School are up to the challenge to reduce their lunchtime waste. They’re kicking off their participation in Grades of Green’s Trash-Free Lunch Challenge, now in its fourth year, with a “Prep Rally” to motivate and inspire students to make a positive impact on their environment.

Sponsored by environmental education nonprofit Grades of Green in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, LAcarGUY and more, the competition pits 24 Southern California schools against one another to see which is most successful at diverting waste from landfills. Over the last three years, participating schools have diverted 71,000 bags of trash from landfills and saved thousands of dollars in waste hauler pick-up costs; last year’s winner reduced lunchtime waste by 93 percent.

During the challenge, students and staff will be encouraged to use re-useable water bottles, utensils and cloth napkins, and taught how to recycle, sort waste and compost. Lunchtime waste at Roosevelt currently amounts to nine trash bags.

The winner of the competition will be awarded a $1,000 education grant on Earth Day.

John Adams Middle School and Lincoln Middle School will also work with Grades of Green this year to increase students’ environmental awareness and reduce lunch waste through recycling.

The media is invited to attend the school kick-off assembly. For coverage or more information, contact Selina Ayala-Patlan: (909) 445-1001 or (909) 957-4048

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 21, 8:45 a.m., 9:20 a.m., 10:10 a.m.

WHERE: Roosevelt Elementary School, Santa Monica, CA 90403

VISUALS: Assembly featuring students learning about their carbon footprint and the impact of consumption on the earth and its animals. Students will also help sort trash into the proper bins.