The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden is committed to achieving Zero Waste, and we want to help our tri-state schools and communities to get involved! The Zero Landfill Challenge is a challenge-based, collaborative learning experience aligned with state standards where teachers act as mentors to students leading the charge in achieving Zero Waste in their classrooms, schools, and communities. By taking part in this challenge, students are empowered to inspire communities to reduce waste, live responsibly, and act naturally


The 2013 Zero Landfill Challenge Winners have been chosen!

First Place –
Roger Bacon High School
Click here to view their project!

Second Place – 
Hughes High School
Click here to view their project!
Click here to view their video!

Third Place –
Loveland High School
Click here to view their project!



  • Cut expenses! By creatively reducing and reusing materials, schools can reduce the cost of purchasing new products.

    Be environmentally friendly! Reducing waste also reduces the number of natural resources that must be used to make new products. By eliminating waste that must be placed into landfills, schools can help reduce soil, water, and air pollution.

    Create jobs! That’s right – when we find creative ways of reusing materials, we create new jobs for people who want to help turn reused materials into “upcycled” products!

    Foods with lots of packaging (candy, processed foods, soda, chips) are typically less healthy than foods without any packaging (fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grain products).

    Support the Green and sustainable development efforts of area school districts, including Cincinnati Public Schools.

  • Learn and incorporate content knowledge from multiple subject areas

    Incorporate elements of inquiry

    Create a challenge with personal connections to their home communities

    Work in a collaborative environment driven by students who are responsible for themselves and their peers

    Discover knowledge through a real-world application

    Develop practical solutions to real-world problems

    Learn project management skills

  • A flexible framework customizable for any team’s needs

    A focus on global challenges advocated for by the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden with a focus on local solutions

    An authentic connection between academic disciplines and real world experience

    A workflow to develop 21st century skills

    The purposeful use of technology for researching, analyzing, organizing, collaborating, communicating, publishing and reflecting

    The opportunity to encourage action from students now, rather than waiting until they are finished with school

    The documentation and assessment of the learning experience from challenge to solution

    The opportunity to encourage action from students now, rather than waiting until they are finished with school

    A chance for students to take charge of their learning




Community Partners for the Zero Waste Challenge

The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE) is an award-winning national nonprofit organization that brings dynamic, in-person assemblies about climate change to high schools at no cost to the school. Since 2009, ACE has presented for over 1.4 million students nationwide. After the assembly, educators work with student-led Action Teams to help them take on carbon cutting projects. This fall, we opened an Ohio office and we are thrilled to be partnering with the Cincinnati Zoo on the Zero Waste Challenge! An ACE assembly is a great way to build student excitement around the Zoo Challenge and kickstart participation at your school. After the assembly, ACE can offer in-person support and online resources to help your school succeed in the Challenge that align with our own national waste-reduction campaign goals. Check out the assembly trailer to get a feel for what ACE does: To contact ACE’s Ohio office, contact Kylie Johnson via email at or call at 513-400-4851. To book an award-winning assembly at your school, click here.