2019 Recycling Video & Poster Contest

Recycle to Rebuild

is now closed

Thank you for participating in this year’s contest.


One of the most important man-made resources we have is our infrastructure: the roads and bridges we drive on, the airports, water ways and train lines we travel through, and – more recently – the cellular towers, cables and fiber optic networks that connect us.

Our infrastructure forms the backbone of our civic lives and economy, it fosters our innovation and creativity, and is integral to our culture. It allows us to move produce quickly so that we can have fresh food to eat. It allows us to travel freely, so we can visit and work in many different places. And it gives us access to information and ideas that we use to invent and make well-informed decisions.

However, many important parts of our infrastructure – in particular, many of our roads and highways – were built close to 50 years ago and are beginning to show signs of wear-and-tear. To address this, we are poised to embark on an enormous project to REBUILD our infrastructure.

The challenge is that building infrastructure is very expensive and consumes vast amount of natural resources. And this effort will also have a big impact on our energy reserves and environment.

It is expected that we will have to spend over $1 TRILLION to create the type of infrastructure we need to be successful in the 21st Century. Massive amounts of raw materials like sand and water will have to be extracted, and significant volume of waste products will have to be discarded. All of this requires power, and a lot of it. Most of this power will come from fossil fuels and contribute significantly to air and water pollution, including the man-made CO2 that is released into the atmosphere.

Now, imagine we could use RECYCLED materials to support the rebuilding of our infrastructure? Would we be able to reduce the cost, use fewer natural resources, decrease the energy requirements, and clean up our air and water?

That is YOUR challenge.


Apply the knowledge, ideas and skills you have gained from science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), to research, imagine, prototype and test ways that we could use recycled materials to help rebuild our infrastructure.

Create an original video or poster that tells the story of your RECYCLE to REBUILD solution, and how you thought of it and tested it.

Your video or poster should educate others about the challenge we face to rebuild our infrastructure and inspire them to explore recycling solutions – both big and small – that will bring our infrastructure into the 21st Century and beyond!


The challenge of creating solutions that allow us to RECYCLE to REBUILD is a complex one. Design Thinking is a widely-used methodology that seeks to create solutions for the future. It is focused on achieving the best possible outcome for the end user, who could be a person, an organization, a community or even a country. It draws on logic, imagination, intuition, knowledge and reasoning to explore, design and test possible solution. It is a power way to develop solutions to complex problems, and one that you might consider using when you tackle this challenge.

Design Thinking starts with defining the problem, researching it, and understanding how the problem affects the user – maybe they can’t get the right product, or the one they have doesn’t work the way they need it to, or it simply costs too much. Then it requires brainstorming many ideas and designing and testing prototypes that represent the best of those ideas. This idea becomes the seed of your solution.

In this process, failure is a common and important outcome. It helps identify the short-comings of the solutions and defines the opportunities for improvement. And there is always room for improvement. Don’t limit yourselves and be bold.

Specific steps you might want to take include:

Imagine a Solution

  1. Start by imaging and sketching a perfect solution to Recyle to Rebuild. Be creative
  2. Next do research on current solutions. If possible, interview someone who is working in this area.
    • What do others think the perfect solution to Recycle to Rebuild is?
    • What approaches or technologies are they trying to use?
    • What is stopping them from creating their perfect solution?
  3. Revisit your original idea.
    • What parts of your solution will work? Which won’t? Why?
  4. Sketch at least 3 different solutions that address your users’ needs. Make these as diverse as possible
  5. Show your sketches your classmates, parents / families and experts
    • What do they like about the solutions?
    • What are they worried won’t work?
    • How could you adapt your solutions to address this feedback?

Prototype YOUR Solution

  1. Based on your ideas and research create a model or prototype for a workable solution. Depending on the type of solution you are proposing, create a physical model, or a set of drawings and information that describe how your solutions works. Consider the costs and other requirements of your solution and include these in your prototype and its description.
  2. Test your prototype if possible or show it to your classmates, parents / families and experts.
    • What do they like about the solutions?
    • What are they worried won’t work?
  3. Update your prototype to reflect your testing and research. Keep improving it as much as you can!

Share YOUR Solution

  1. With the resources available to you tell the story of your solution. Create either a short video or a poster that explains the challenge of rebuilding infrastructure and describes your solution to use recycled materials to tackle it. Clearly describe how your solution works, what it requires, and anything else you have learned about the challenge of creating a solution to RECYCLE to REBUILD



The contest is open to all students living in the United States and Canada enrolled in grades K–12 during the 2018-19 school year.
Students can enter the contest as individuals or as a team of up to five individuals.
Each individual or team can submit either a video or a poster to the contest.

One video and one poster will be selected as a finalist from each of three grade bands: K-4, 5–8, and 9–12.
Up to two grand-prize winners will be selected.
JASON and ISRI may also acknowledge honorable mentions.


All entries must be submitted by January 18, 2019. Winners will be notified by March 1, 2019.


Video Specifications
The video must be no more than 2 minutes in length. Use of copyrighted video, music, images, logos, and trademarks is prohibited; entries that contain any copyrighted materials will be disqualified unless written permission to use the materials is acquired and submitted to JASON along with the entry.

Poster Specifications
Each poster entry must be a two-dimensional, original piece of artwork done on white poster board with dimensions of 28 in. x 22 in. (71 cm x 56 cm). Any art medium may be used (e.g., colored pencils, crayons, or paint); however, computer graphics will not be accepted. Artwork must be hand-drawn by the entrant. Pale colors should not be used because they are too difficult to reprint. Also note that artwork must be flat (e.g., no glued pieces) and able to be scanned. Please note that any artwork that includes copyrighted or trademarked product names (e.g., Coca-Cola ®) will be disqualified. You must take a high-resolution (at least 3072 x 2304 pixels) digital photograph of your poster in order to submit your entry. One way to do this is to place your poster on the floor in a well-lit room and use a digital camera to take the picture from above.


Your teacher/facilitator must upload your video file or the digital photo of your poster along with your name, grade, school/after-school program name, school/after-school program address, and teacher/facilitator’s name, phone number, and e-mail address via the link below. All entries must be uploaded by January 18, 2019.

Note that you will also need to complete the Permission Form before submitting your entry. This form must be signed by a parent or guardian, and you will be asked to upload the completed form immediately after you upload your contest entry file. You can scan and upload a PDF of the signed permission form, or you can submit a digital photo of the signed form. If two or more students are collaborating on an entry, each student will need to submit a completed permission form. See below for more details on media specifications, how to submit your entry, judging, and prizes.


Any of the contest submissions may be created by individuals or by teams. We do request, however, that team size is limited to no more than 5 students per submission.


JASON Learning and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) retain the right to use all submitted posters and videos, always making reference to the name of the holder, to project and promote their institutional objectives in any way deemed appropriate in the future (exhibitions, production of commemorative booklets or calendars, creation of CDs, projections on websites, etc.). Participants in this contest explicitly accept this condition and provide JASON and ISRI the right to use their entries.


Entries will be judged by a committee of representatives from the sponsoring organizations. Judges will evaluate each entry on the clarity and accuracy with which it portrays the process and challenges of recycling the chosen item into a reusable form, how well the entry’s message connects to people’s everyday lives, the creativity and originality of the entry, the quality of the entry, and the overall impression of the entry.

Poster finalists will be required to mail their original artwork upon being notified of their selection as finalists. The finalist videos and posters will be featured on JASON and ISRI websites.

Up to two grand-prize winners will be selected. Grand prize winners will receive a trip for one team representative and a parent/guardian chaperone to ISRI’s Annual Convention & Exposition to be held in Los Angeles in April 2019.

Trip costs covered include airfare for two (student plus parent/guardian chaperone) from a major airport, two nights at the ISRI Convention Hotel, and an ISRI Convention pass for one day, including lunch. In cases where a team (more than one individual) is chosen as the grand-prize winner, the team must choose one individual to represent the team at the conference; additional team members and/or chaperones can attend as well if the team raises the necessary funds on their own to cover their additional travel costs.

If selected as a grand-prize winner, winner is responsible for obtaining any necessary travel documents, such as government-issued picture id if needed, visa (if traveling internationally), etc.


About the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries

The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the “Voice of the Recycling Industry.” ISRI and its 21 chapters represent approximately 1,300 companies operating in nearly 4,000 locations in the U.S. and 34 countries worldwide that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, ISRI provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating more than $105 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides nearly half a million Americans with good jobs. For more information about ISRI, please visit www.isri.org.

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