About the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge

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What is the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge?

Please note that we've made some changes to the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge program. For 2017 the challenge starts on Food Waste Friday (Oct. 20, 2017) as part of Waste Reduction Week and is now open to all elementary and secondary schools across Canada. 

To participate and be eligible for prizes, schools must:

  • Be a school in Canada (Elementary, Junior, or Secondary) 
  • Take the Food Waste Pledge as a school or classroom
  • Educate students, parents, and staff by accessing the food waste resources 
  • Go completely waste-free for one week, starting on Food Waste Friday (Oct. 20, 2017)
  • Follow or Like us on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram
  • Share your Waste-Free Lunch experience through creative videos and/or photos on social media using the hashtag #WasteReductionWeek


Participating schools or classrooms in each province/territory could receive $250 for their school's environmental initiatives.  Winners will be determined based on the requirements listed above and for creativity of videos/photos posted to social media. 


When is the Challenge taking place?

The 2017 Challenge will take place on Food Waste Friday during Waste Reduction Week in Canada. 

Who can participate?

All schools across Canada can participate in the challenge and are eligble to receive prizes. 

What are the benefits of participating in the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge?

The Waste-Free Lunch Challenge is an easy way to inspire your students and school community to implement the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. The program also provides opportunities to:

1. Achieve learning outcomes in subject areas including Mathematics, Science and Technology and Social Studies

2. Connect with your local community by involving parents, guardians and community groups in Waste-Free Lunch Challenge activities

3. Increase awareness of the use of packaging and waste reduction opportunities in your school and at home

4. Reduce waste generation resulting from school lunches and take a step towards long term cost-savings for waste management

5. Beautify your school by reducing litter

6. Be part of an Ontario-wide environmental initiative and make waste reduction a skill for life

7. Earn a chance to win prizes.

Who is organizing the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge?

The Ontario Waste-Free Lunch Challenge is an initiative of the Recycling Council of Ontario and Waste Reduction Week in Canada

The Recycling Council of Ontario is a not-for-profit organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. RCO's mission is to inform and educate all members of society about the generation of waste, the avoidance of waste, the more efficient use of resources and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities. Since its inception in 1978, RCO has actively assisted municipalities, corporations, other organizations and individuals in reducing their waste. For more information about the RCO visit www.rco.on.ca