What has 400,000 feet but will leave no footprint on the earth? – 200,000 Ontario elementary school students in a province-wide challenge to pack waste-free lunches.  In recognition of Waste Reduction Week in Canada, October 17 -23, 2011, students, teachers and parents will be competing to reduce their lunch waste for $1000 cash prizes.

Toronto – A major source of waste in Ontario, the average elementary-school student generates 30 kilograms of lunch waste per school year. During the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, participating students have committed to bringing a waste-free lunch every day for one week.  Successful lunches will have resealable and refillable containers, no disposable packaging and will be packed in a lunchbox.  Each school will track and weigh their waste throughout the week and the lightest schools win!

For the second year the Waste-Free Lunch Challenge, a program offered by the Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO), in partnership with Metro Ontario and Tetra Pak Canada, has issued the province-wide challenge to bring awareness to the issues of waste reduction whilst challenging the schools to do their part.

“This challenge is an exciting and fun way to engage students, educators and parents to learn about waste reduction and recycling.  We’ve quadrupled our participation rate this year with 200,000 plus students. Clearly they understand the importance of waste reduction and are more than willing to take up our challenge,” says Jo-Anne St. Godard, Executive Director of the Recycling Council of Ontario.  “We anticipate that the challenge will prevent hundreds of tonnes of waste from entering Ontario landfills”.

About Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO)

Recycling Council of Ontario’s (RCO) Waste-Free Lunch Challenge aims to support educators and students to reduce waste generated from school lunches. RCO is a not-for-profit, membership-based 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 avoidance of waste, efficient use of resources, and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities. For further information, please visit www.wastefreelunch.com.

About Metro Ontario Inc.

Metro is a Canadian company with offices and operations in both Ontario and Quebec.   Metro Ontario Inc. operates 155 stores under one conventional banner, Metro and 116 stores under one discount banner, Food Basics. The company employs over 30,000 people in Ontario. For further information, please visit www.metro.ca.

About Tetra Pak Canada

Tetra Pak is the world’s leading food processing and packaging solutions company. Working closely with its customers and suppliers, it provides safe, innovative and environmentally sound products that each day meet the needs of hundreds of millions of people in more than 170 countries around the world. With almost 22,000 employees based in over 85 countries, Tetra Pak believes in responsible industry leadership and a sustainable approach to business.  Its motto, PROTECTS WHAT’S GOOD™, reflects its vision to make food safe and available, everywhere. For more information about Tetra Pak Canada visit www.tetrapak.ca.