Announcing Video and Poster Recycling Contest!

Recycling is Essential to My Community

Calling all K-12 Youth!

Participate in a national recycling video and poster contest sponsored by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning!

These are turbulent times! Recycling is essential to our communities and neighborhoods. Yet, in the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, it’s fallen off many of our radars. Communities that once banned single use plastics and bags are offering these again to reduce the handling of personal cloth bags. Dining and take-out is at an all-time high and carry out containers are on the rise. People are ordering goods and products online like never before in lieu of in-person shopping, increasing the need and use of cardboard boxes and packaging. There are examples everywhere of how our lives have changed, and the ways in which recycling is essential to our communities. Recycling provides livelihoods for millions of Americans, supplies critical raw materials for manufacturing, has numerous environmental benefits, and promotes collaboration among community members to solve real-world problems.

Your challenge

Create a public service announcement in the form of a video or poster that explains to other members in your community or neighborhood why recycling is essential, why they should care, and how they can help.

Your solution should:


Highlight how recycling is essential

Bring this important issue into the light and onto people’s radars. Try highlighting or showcasing aspects of recycling that you think members of your community probably don’t know. Make it personal - this is about YOUR community or neighborhood.

Define your community

Describe the physical and social “boundaries.” Where does the “community” begin and end? Who does this include?


Identify a specific way or ways recycling helps your community or neighborhood.


Explain why what you have identified is essential to your community or neighborhood. Think about the “negative” space - what would happen if this aspect of recycling didn’t exist?


Propose what members of your community can or should do in order to support these recycling efforts and make a difference.


Include information about one or more of the following materials to highlight in your community:

  • Fiber (Paper & Cardboard)
  • Ferrous metals (metals containing iron like iron, wrought iron, and steel).
  • Nonferrous metals (metals that do not contain iron such as aluminum, copper, lead, nickel, tin, and zinc).
  • Plastics
  • Glass
  • Textiles
  • Tires
  • Electronics

Consider one or more of the areas below:

Recycling is Essential to Jobs and Careers:

In the US, the recycling industry provides over 530,000 good jobs and more than $100 billion in economic activity.

Recycling is Essential to Manufacturing:

In these unprecedented times, the recycling industry supplies critical raw materials to keep manufacturers in operation.

Recycling is Essential to the Environment:

Recycling is essential every day as recycling reduces the need for extracting (mining, quarrying and logging), refining and processing raw materials, all of which create substantial air and water pollution.

Recycling is Essential to Community Relations and Development:

Recyclers play an essential role in helping state and local governments minimize the waste stream and make sure that materials that can be reused, recycled and repurposed are collected and processed to successfully enter the manufacturing supply chain.

Recycling is Essential to our Infrastructure:

Recycling ensures the effective removal, storage and processing of residential and commercial recyclable materials, (metal, paper, plastics and other commodity-grade materials) that feed critical U.S. manufacturing operations. These operations produce the rebar, wiring, tubing, transportation, packaging and other key materials that are needed for everything from construction of new hospitals to the manufacture of new hospital beds, ventilators, toilet paper and other essential supplies needed to keep Americans safe and the economy running during this critical period.

Recycling Contest Ask-an-Expert LIVE Events - FREE!

Join experts from the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning to hear about this year’s recycling contest! Open to all students K-12, this is an opportunity for students, teachers, and families to hear from experts in the recycling industry, receive helpful tips and the challenge, and ask questions. Aso great for students who are also undecided about entering and wish to learn more. Come join us! Please note, all students under the age of 18 must register for this event with an adult (family member, teacher, parent, guardian).

Choose one of the following times:

October 20, 4-5pm EST

View Recorded Event

November 10, 7- 8pm EST

View Recorded Event

*After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

All entries must be submitted by Friday, December 18, 2020

Check out our Recycling Activities Collection: Lessons and resources for grades k-12!

Designed in partnership with The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), students explore the benefits and challenges of sustainable recycling through a variety of activities ranging from physics and chemistry to engineering and human impacts while becoming informed citizens and careful consumers.