In Bellevue School District, students at 24 participating schools — elementary through high schools — reduced their lunchroom waste in the annual Cafeteria Challenge. For the third year in a row, Puesta del Sol Elementary School won the recycled trophy for averaging only 1.77 grams of waste per student on measurement day.
For the 15,060 participating students across the schools, measurement day revealed the generation of 403 pounds of trash, which would translate to 4.8 pounds of garbage per student for an entire year — 93 percent less than the national average.
“We are thrilled to see this level of enthusiasm and engagement,” said Nancy Larson, facilities, maintenance, and community use manager for the school district. “A record number of students took part this year.”
The Cafeteria Challenge was created eight years ago from a partnership between Bellevue Utilities and Bellevue School District called “Green Genius,” which educates kids about recycling. This year garnered the best-ever results, with waste reduced by 30 percent compared to numbers recorded in 2018.
Though the winning school takes home a trophy, program coordinator Sam Wilder said, “The real contest winner is the environment.”