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Lunch Out Of Landfills (LOOL)

Solid Waste Management


Lunch Out Of Landfills! (LOOL) educates K-12 students about the environmental and economic impacts of food waste and empowers them as change agents through daily lunch waste sorting. Liquids, compostable food waste, recyclables, trash, and in some cases recoverable food and drinks, are separated and weighed daily to track weights and percentage of waste diverted from landfills or incinerators.

Middletown Elementary Students Start Program to Reduce Amount of Trash Headed to Landfill

"Before the program, the school would fill six to eight trash cans a day that went into the school dumpsters, said Cari Wolf, a fifth-grade teacher at Middletown who’s helping oversee the program. After a week of the program being in place, they fill about one a day, she said."

Lunch Out Of Landfills – started Monday, December 6th, 2021 for all students at Middletown Elementary School!

Students will sort their waste into four different bins during lunch — trash, recycling, liquids and organics. Organics are any biodegradable matter such as banana peels and apple cores.

The compost and liquids will then be picked up by Key City Compost, a Maryland-based company, and taken to one of their facilities where it will be recycled.


MES LOOL graph thru 1/21/22 

Successes in Frederick County, Maryland:

• Data from one-time Waste Sorts convinced Frederick County Public Schools administrators to buy-in and provide seed funding.

• 14 schools are now implementing LOOL.

• Rotary Club partners provide funding for compost pick-up services and volunteers for student coaching.

• Sorted waste weight is tracked daily; 70 – 85% of waste weight is diverted from landfills each week.

• 3 schools are recovering food with Share Tables and distribution to food banks.

Mountainside Education Enrichment, Inc. Offers:

• Program start-up consultation to school systems and jurisdictions

• On-site visits for program introduction and stakeholder engagement with school           administrators, teachers, PTAs, and custodial and food service team

  • Interactive assemblies and trainings for students

  • Infrastructure and supply acquisition consultation and referral

  • Curricular and educational resources

  • Promotional strategies

  • Methods for waste station monitoring and data collection


​Southern Frederick Rotary Club

Joe Richardson of Southern Frederick Rotary Club (Maryland, US) has created a complete Lunch out of Landfills Toolkit Rotarians can use to launch a program to empower schools to divert organics from landfills. Food waste currently causes an estimated 124 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions in the US every year.  Through Lunch out of Landfills your club can foster students’ environmental awareness and leadership. You may also be able to save schools money.


Joe led a pilot test of Lunch out of Landfills in one Frederick County elementary school last semester.  Fifth graders documented a 85% reduction in the volume of waste sent to the landfill. This also slashed the emissions caused by transporting garbage to the landfill over 60 miles away from the school. Frederick County Superintendent Dr. Theresa Alban, also a Rotarian, was so impressed that she allocated $10,000 to help expand the project to a total of 14 schools this year.

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