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Contests & Special Programs


Support National Recycling Contest, October-April

Join one of three nationwide recycling contests for schools and earn a chance for prize money and bragging rights.  Sign up dates vary in the fall.  Let's increase recycling rates and help Northeast Ohio Schools lead the State of Ohio and the nation in recycling. 

The Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District will help by educating your school and the school community about recycling.

Recycle-Bowl Competition
Recycle-Bowl Competition is promoted by Keep American Beautiful (KAB). It is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for K-12 school recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities.

Dream Machine Recycle Rally™
The Recycle Rally™ is an exciting program that aims to raise awareness of the importance of recycling. The goal of for schools is to capture beverage containers (plastic bottles and aluminum cans) that would not otherwise be recycled. 

Great American Can Roundup School Challenge
"Al the Can" extends an invitation to your school to earn money, recycle and party. 

Grants for Recycling Bins

If the school wants to obtain permanent bins, then apply for a grant through one of the following grant programs.
Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District's School Recycling Container Grant
Keep America Beautiful
The Wal-Mart Foundation
RecycleBank communities
Project Learning Tree GreenWorks Grants


Recycling Pledge

Our goal is that 1,000 Cuyahoga County students will sign the America Recycles pledge.  Copy the form and print it.  Conserve paper by having each student sign one form.  Or, send them to the kids page to fill out the recycling pledge for online.  No paper waste necessary.  

We'll list your class here if they pledge.   

□    I pledge to find out what materials I can and cannot recycle in my community.

□    I pledge to lead by example in my neighborhood by recycling.

□    I pledge to recycle batteries, cell phones, and other electronic waste.

□    I pledge to bring my own bag to the grocery, video, and clothes store. I will ask my teacher to contact Kathleen Rocco at the District to sign us up for the “Pass on the Plastic Bag” program, allowing us to design our own and promote the use of reusable shopping bags.

□    I pledge to tell five friends that recycling is the easiest thing they can do to slow global warming.


Please include school's name, address, city, state, zip, school phone, teacher contact, and grade.

Mail entry form to: Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District, 4750 East 131 Street, Garfield Heights, OH  44105. 

We must receive your entry form by November 9, 2013. Each student will be entered in a drawing to win a recycled soda pop bottle T-shirt.  Prizes should be recieved on or before November 15th, America Recycles Day. 



3 R's Photo Contest 

Take a digital photo of anything related to the 3 R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle.  It could be a spontaneous recycling shot or a planned photo shoot.  You might take a photo of a pile of home recyclables, a person swapping a toy or game with a friend, or even a cute pet recycling the daily news.  Add a clever caption that will encourage others to reduce, reuse or recycle. 


Digital photos must be three (3) megapixels or larger.  Entries require high/print quality images – 2048 x 1536 resolution with a minimum 4" x 6" print.   Six (6) megapixel picture with a resolution of 3072 x 2048 is preferred.

Each entry must include the photographer’s name, address, school, age, and the photo caption.

Entries are due by 11:59 p.m. local time on January 31, 2014.  Entries can be emailed to (to confirm receipt of your entry and attachment, send a second email or call 216-443-3731). Classes can send entries on CDs or flash drive to be dropped off or mailed to 3 R Contest, CCSWD, 4750 East 131 Street, Garfield Heights, OH 44105. Only entries by Cuyahoga County residents and those attending school in Cuyahoga County will be judged and eligible for prizes.


This contest is open to all students ages 6-18 and will be judged in four categories by age: 6-8 years old, 9-11 years old, 12-14 years old and 15-18years old. Pictures can be taken anywhere—inside, outside, at home, or at school. You can take action shots or stage your photo. If there are any people in the photo, please ask for their permission.

Photos that have been digitally altered, or “photoshopped,” beyond dust removal, cropping, or natural adjustments to color and contrast, etc. can be disqualified. Also, photos with inappropriate content determined by a reviewer will be disqualified. The original camera made file maybe requested.

Judging and Prizes

Photographers will be entered into age categories. Entries in the age categories will be reviewed and at least 10 entries per category will be posted on our website for viewing. The general public will have 10-14 day time frame to vote for their favorite via email.  An annoucement will be made about the voting schedule.  Voting ends on February 28, 2014 at midnight. 

Prizes will include a poster of winning entries and other earth day or recycling themed items.  All participants will receive a certificate thanking them for entering.  Take a shot for a chance at a cool recycling prize.  

Your entry to the contest constitutes your agreement to allow your photographs or artwork with your name and city of residence to be published when judged by the public and then the selected award winners published on Solid Waste District’s website and other educational and promotional materials to encourage recycling, but not limited to, Web sites, emails, newsletters, posters, and all other electronic or print media. Entrants retain ownership and all other rights to future use of their photographs. 


Age 6-8 Winner, Jake Schneid, North Olmsted, Score Points with Earth by Recycling

Age 9-11  Winner, Joyce Liang, Cleveland, no caption

Age 15-18 Winner, Nicole Fiorelli, Euclid, Bee Green

Age 15-18 Honorary Winner, Jaron Nestor-Blackman, Vermillion, Buried Alive

For Past 3 R's Photo Contest, click here.   

Recycling Challenge Clothing Drive

Please join the third year for the Cuyahoga County Project Recycle Clothing Collection Program!  The purpose of the program is to educate your students on the importance of reusing and recycling, while supporting Goodwill’s mission of improving the quality of life and employment opportunities for people.  

Students bring in bags of gently used clothing to their school during their in early March of 2014.  Goodwill will place blue bin(s) at the school the week prior for the drive to store clothing.

The school division leaders with the highest donation/student ratio will win an environmental variety show from the Illusion Maker (over $1,000) provided by Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.    Winner to be announced by early April.

To sign up contact, Evette Moton at  or fax her at 440-545-1089.

Here is what we need to get your school registered:
• School Name 
• Address  
• Number of Students 
• Contact Person/Phone Number/E-mail Address
• # of Blue Bins Requested (2 max)

2014 Participants

Incarnate Word Academy @ 882 lbs. = 2.15 lbs. per student

Hayes Elementary School @ 865 lbs. = 1.88 lbs. per student

Drake Elementary School @ 402 lbs. =.91 lbs. per student

Brookridge Elementary @ 1409 lbs. = 2.91 lbs. per student

Hilltop Elementary School @ 270 lbs. =.69 lbs. per student


2014 Winner

Brookridge Elementary, Brooklyn  has been declared the 2014 winner of Project Recycle.  The recycling clothing challenge occurred for one week in March at participating schools.  To win, the Brookridge students collected a total of 1409 pounds of clothing. That was 2.91 pounds of clothing recycled per student.  Brookridge Elementary students will be treated to a performance of the Illusion Maker sponsored by the Cuyahoga County Solid Waste District.  A total of five schools participated collecting 3,828 pounds of clothing for donation. 

Past Winners
2012 Incarnate Word Academy
2013 Saint Thomas More


Zero Waste Challenge

A “Zero Waste” School contender will attempt to make the least amount of waste during lunch on their challenge day. This a great project for a student council, environmental club or PTA to organize and monitor. The winning school will become the “Zero Waste” title holder for the year and is awarded recycled milk jug bench. The challenge is held on one day chosen by the school on or before April 30, 2014.

While supplies last, all schools participating will receive up to 20 “Zero Waste” lunch boxes to be distributed to organizers or students who set a good example. Schedule the Education Specialist to visit during lunch to hand out small prizes for any student with a waste free lunch.

Students are demonstrating what can be packed to make a zero waste lunch.

Zero Waste Challenger Title Holders

2014 - Hilton Elementary School, Brecksville
2013 - Bethany Lutheran School, Parma
2012 - Bethany Lutheran School, Parma
2011 - Pleasant Valley Elementary
2010 - Bethany Lutheran School, Parma
2009 - Incarnate Word Academy, Parma
2008 - Birchwood School, Cleveland
2007 - Birchwood School, Cleveland
2006 - Birchwood School, Cleveland
2005 - Scranton Elementary, Cleveland
2003 - Saint Richards, North Olmsted
2002 - Bethany Lutheran School, Cleveland

Zero Waste Challenge Results for 2014

This is the twelfth year of the “Zero Waste” Challenge. The challenge’s winner is the school that achieved the lowest percentage of waste generated at lunch.

We had three very determined schools attempting the challenge.  Many parents and school staff members were involved with the winner's success.  They also labeled all bins and provided plenty of helpers to retrieve materials that could be reused, recycled or composted. 

Congratulations to Hilton Elementary of Brecksville for being the 2014 Zero Waste Challenge Title Holder. The K-3 student body of 287 participated in the challenge on April 29th, and they only created 12 pounds of trash. This is only 0.0418 pounds per student.  This was their first time entering the challenge.   Before initiating zero waste techniques, the school's lunch waste was 160 pounds.  Educating the students on how to pack a zero waste lunch helped them decrease their weight to 70 pounds, more than half on a practice day.  Zero Waste is achieved when you decrease your trash by 90%.  Hilton decreased their waste by 92.5%, so way to go!  When we change behavior and collectively make the effort, we can achieve Zero Waste.   

1.  Hilton Elementary only generated 12 pounds of trash from 287 students for .042 pounds per student. 
2.  Chippewa Elementary only generated 15 pounds of trash from 296 students for .051 pounds per students. 
3.  Olmsted Intermediate school generated 32 pounds from 594 students for .054 pounds per student. 


The ultimate goal is zero waste, and hopefully all the participating students and their parents will continue to plan and pack waste free lunches.


Poetree Contest

Discover the poet in your students with poetry written about trees. The contest is for Cuyahoga County first to twelfth grade students. The tree poem must be written on single side of letter-sized paper. Drawings are allowed. On back of entry, student's name, address, school and grade is required. Each grade level winner will be awarded tree related prizes. All participates will receive a certification of participation. Entries due by Friday, May 9, 2014 with winners announced and prizes awarded in late May. 

2014 Winners

First Grade, Arya Babu, Lewis Elementary                      If I were a Tree
Second Grade, Dominic Blogna, St. Bartholomew         Me and my tree
Third Grade, Keira Schmock, St. Bartholomew              The Maple Tree
Fourth Grade, Emma Williams, St. Bartholomew          Trees
Fifth Grade, Sanjana Murthy, Hilltop Elementary           Tree
Sixth Grade, Adele Metres, Homeschool                         Our Tree
Seventh Grade, Andrea Klima, Independence Middle      Voices of a tree
Eighth Grade, April Graham, Homeschool                       Magnificent
Ninth Grade, Nicole Fiorelli, Homeschool                      The Tale Of A Tree

2013 Contest Winners

Second grade, Lena Frate from St. Bartholomew
Third grade, Mallory Marcinko from St. Bartholomew
Fourth grade, Jenna Matthias from St. Bartholomew
Seventh grade, Abigail Preiszig, from St. Bartholomew
Eighth grade, Nicole Fiorelli, home school


Past Contest Winners


Calendar of Events

Household Hazardous Waste Disposal Program
City Service Departments

July 23, 2014
Sort Out Recycling class
Cuyahoga County Library, Berea

July 25, 2014
ZeroLandfill Pollination

August 1-31, 2014
Recycle Your Computer Month
City Service Departments

August 8, 2014
ZeroLandfill Pollination

August 10, 2014
Freecycle event
9:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
Bexley Park, South Euclid

August 13, 2014
Sort Out Recycling class
Cuyahoga County Library, Parma

August 15, 2014
ZeroLandfill Harvest

August 19, 2014
Sort Out Recycling class
Cuyahoga County Library, Southeast (Bedford)

August 21, 2014
Sort Out Recycling class
Cuyahoga County Library, Strongsville

August 22, 2014
ZeroLandfill Harvest


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