School Contests

Every school year, RethinkWaste hosts two art contests – the Trash-to-Art Contest is held in the spring and a Poster Contest is held in the fall. These contests are open to all 3rd through 5th grade students attending schools located in the RethinkWaste service area*.

*RethinkWaste service area: Atherton, Belmont, Burlingame, East Palo Alto, Foster City, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, Redwood City, San Carlos, San Mateo, parts of unincorporated San Mateo County, and the West Bay Sanitary District

Trash To Art Contest

Our annual Trash to Art Contest is open to 3rd – 5th grade classes and individual students in our service area!

The Trash to Art Contest encourages students to create an art piece using materials that would otherwise have been thrown away or recycled (no compost or hazardous waste, please). 90% of the piece must be made from recyclable or trash material collected at home, school, and everyday life. All mediums of art are encouraged, including sculptures, collages and murals, among others. Art pieces should not exceed 3ft x 3ft. 

Update: Submissions are due by Friday, May 8, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. and art must now be submitted online with a two minute video or photos due to current shelter in place restrictions. Click below for the appropriate category in which you would like to submit your art.


Prizes will be awarded to the 1st through 3rd Place winners in the individual category and 1st through 2nd place in the class category.

View examples of previous years’ Trash To Art Contest winning submissions here.

2019 1st Place – Individual Category: Natalie T., “RethinkWaste and Create Something Magical”
Arroyo School, San Carlos, 4th grade


Poster Contest

The theme and deadline for the Fall 2020 Poster Contest will be announced in early September.

All submitted posters must be 8.5 x 14 inches (legal size). Any 2D mediums may be used – this includes paint, markers, crayons and colored pencils. Bright, rich colors are encouraged. Only one entry per student will be accepted. Original artwork only.

The 1st Place poster will be enlarged and displayed on the side of a Recology truck with routes in the winning artist’s local neighborhood. Winning posters will also be highlighted on the RethinkWaste website and in other promotional materials.

View examples of previous years’ Poster Contest winning submissions here.

2019 1st Place: Kyle E., “The 4R’s”
Roosevelt School, Redwood City, 5th grade