ByHaley Shapley

Nov 12, 2015 ,

When we think about recycling, we usually think about what can be placed in the blue bin. But what about all those things that aren’t so small? The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) and JASON Learning have teamed up to challenge student filmmakers and artists to “think outside the bin” with a recycling awareness contest, now in its third year.

Working within the recycle contest theme of “Bigger Than the Bin,” students in grades K–12 are asked to select an item that is too big for the blue bin, research how that item is recycled, and create an original video or poster on the subject.

“Contests such as this one are a fun way for [kids] to explore areas of STEM that they might otherwise never think of, or make a personal connection with,” said Patrick Shea, JASON’s executive vice president. “When they do, we’re always amazed at the depth of their understanding, and the creativity they put into sharing what they’ve learned. We can’t wait to see what they come up with for this year’s theme — it offers such a wide range of possibilities.”

The deadline for entry is Dec. 18. The grand prize is a trip to ISRI’s Annual Convention and Exposition in Las Vegas in April 2016 for the winning student and a parent or guardian. Finalists will be featured on the JASON and ISRI websites, plus they’ll get a year of JASON online access, a contest T-shirt, and a certificate.

They’ll also get to explore a topic area they may have never considered.

“The industry is much bigger than the blue bin, including the use of many different aspects of science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Robin Wiener, president of ISRI. “This contest opens up a whole new world of recycling for children to explore. It gives them the opportunity to learn about the many economic and environmental benefits of recycling, while furthering their creativity and perhaps putting them on a path to a career in recycling.”

In previous years, the contest has focused on cars and cellphones. Get more information on the contest here.

Feature image courtesy of

By Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of publications, covering everything from sustainability to fitness to travel. Read more of her work here.