Contests & Special Projects

The District offers recycling contests and prizes throughout the school year. Teachers, educators and youth leaders are encouraged to participate in our education contests. Be sure to place reminders on your student planning calendar for due dates and environmental-based holidays.

For details about these contests and events, contact Kathleen Rocco at 216.443.3731 or send an email.

Learn more about our current contests and winners.

My Green Garden by Nicole F., Cleveland
3Rs Photo Contest 2015 winner

Bound by What We Leave Behind by Cassandra G., Independence
3Rs Photo Contest 2015 winner


Recycling Container Grant
Purchase classroom recycling containers or compost bins with a grant offered by the Solid Waste District. Schools and organizations are welcome to apply. Applications are due in February and October. See more details about the Recycling Container Grant.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Photo Contest
This contest is designed to capture what the theme Reduce, Reuse, Recycle means to a student in either a photograph or a drawing.  For example, the photograph or drawing might capture how the student has repurposed an object so it could be used again; or illustrate how the student reduces waste; or shows how the student recycles at home, at school or in their community. Cuyahoga County K-12 grade students or those attending school in Cuyahoga County are eligible for prizes.  
  • All artwork must be original to the artist.  No computer graphics or copyright images will be accepted.
  • Hand drawn entries must be on white paper or poster board.  Any art medium can be used such as markers, colored pencils, crayons or paint. Pale colors should be avoided because they can be difficult to reprint.  Drawings submitted must be able to be scanned and be no larger than 11x17.    
  • If a person’s face is used in the photo, then the artist must get their permission.  
  • 3-D or textured art projects made of recyclable or repurposed materials can be submitted as a photo or must be able to be scanned by a copier. One way to do this is to place your art on the floor or behind white board in a well-lit room and use a digital camera to take the picture from above.
  • Submit original high resolution digital photographs of over 2,000 KB.  
The entry must include the artist name, address, school, grade level and optional caption.  Entries are due by March 1.  Individual entries or small number of photos can be sent to  Classroom number of entries can be shared via drop box or Google group with above email.  Also, teachers can send a disk with classroom entries to Kathleen Rocco, CCSWD, 4750 East 131 St, Garfield Hts., Ohio 44105.

Earth Day themed prizes will be given to one winner at each grade level.   Entries will be narrowed down and posted online without artist’s information for public voting.  Winners will be announced by Earth Day.  Winner’s artwork can be used on social media or as a part of printed materials by the Solid Waste District.  

Note:  As an incentive, schools that submit 50 or more entries will be entered into a raffle to win a free environmental assemble sponsored by the Solid Waste District.  


Zero Waste Challenge

Students learn how to create less classroom and cafeteria waste and host a "zero waste" lunch. Schools compete to see who can create the least amount of trash on a given day. Prizes awarded to the school closest to zero waste. Held any time in April.
Earth Day
Each year, the entire nation celebrates Earth Day on April 22. Local events and activities, including Earth Day Coalition's Earthfest, take place throughout Cuyahoga County.

Poetree Contest

The Solid Waste District's annual Poetree Contest is a celebration of trees as a natural resource. Trees offer food, warmth, building materials and a place to relax and reflect. During the month of April, and in honor of Arbor Day, Cuyahoga County students in K-12 grade write and submit poems to celebrate trees. Entries are due by May 1.


Pepsico Recycle Rally
Make recycling easy, fun and rewarding. K-12 schools and students can earn valuable incentives and resources from PepsiCo. when they sign up for this free nationwide recycling program. Contest starts nationwide in early September. 
View website.

Green Apple Day of Service
Help transform all schools into healthy, safe and productive learning environments through local service events. Projects held nationwide on the third Saturday of September. See more details.

Made By Milk
The Made By Milk™ contest encourages students to build strong bones with milk and flex their creative muscles by repurposing milk cartons. The winning team can earn its school up to $5,000. Just collect your school’s milk cartons and use them to create a piece of art that fits the semester’s theme. Learn more.

JASON Learning 2018 Recycling Video & Poster Contests

Calling all artists, filmmakers, and recyclers! Students in grades K–12 are invited to participate in a national recycling awareness contest sponsored by the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning. The theme of this year’s contest is “Recycling is Bigger than the Bin!” Prizes are awarded. Learn more.

River Valley Paper Recycling Contest
Recycling contest for mixed paper collection. Held in the Northeast Ohio region in September/October. View website.

Recycle Bowl Competition
National recycling competition to help students start recycling. Offered by Keep America Beautiful; deadline to sign up is October 15. See more details.

America Recycles Day
Keep America Beautiful encourages you to take the pledge to recycle more and participate in local recycling events. Held every year on November 15. See more about America Recycles Day.

The Great American Can Roundup
Register to participate in the Can Manufacturers Institute's contest to recycle the most aluminum cans. Win cash awards. Register in spring for November-May collection. Learn more.

Subscribe to our newsletter