Earth day contest for kids

Update: Because we are utilizing resources to future book tour events, we’re no longer able to host an annual nationwide One Plastic Bag contest. We do, however, encourage you to host a school or district-wide contest in your area. Contact us with the results if you do!

Isatou Ceesay and the women of Njau used creativity to help solve the problems associated with the plastic trash in their village. Their story proves that generating ideas can be the start of solving problems on a local level. Supporting and spreading those ideas is the way they grow into real solutions. The 2015 “One Plastic Bag” Earth Day Contest was modeled after these ideas. The way it works is:

  1. YOU (students in grades Pre-K through 8th) come up with a creative way to recycle a waste item in your household, classroom, school, or city, and share the idea with us.
  2. WE (a panel of judges) review entries, name winners, award prizes, and help support and spread your great ideas with other classrooms through our website and social media.

The 2015 contest is now open!
Download the three-page packet below.

Screen Shot 2015-02-20 at 11.54.42 AM

Download the One Plastic Bag Contest Form Now!

2015 “One Plastic Bag” Recycling Idea Contest  – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 2015 “One Plastic Bag” Recycling Idea Contest?
The contest was designed to celebrate how Isatou Ceesay and the women of Njau used creativity to help solve the problems linked to plastic trash in their village. Their story proves that thinking up new ideas can be the start of making a change. This contest invites children in grades Pre-K through 8th to think up, explain, and draw their own idea that turns a trash item into something new.

How do I enter the contest?
If you’re attending any One Plastic Bag book tour events, you’ll be given an entry form and can turn it in to an activity leader. (View events). Otherwise, teachers and parents can download the entry form packet at or here and follow the five-step instructions.

I’m a teacher or librarian. Can I send all of my students’ entries in at once?
Yes. You can email them as a single or multiple attachments (up to 10GB per email) or snail-mail them. If you’re mailing them in, you’ll only have to write the “adult name” and “contact info” once on a cover letter for all the entries instead of on every individual form. To obtain the contest mailing address simply email and you will receive the postal address to send entries to.

When is the contest deadline?
May 7, 2015. Please email or postmark all entries by this date.

When will winners be announced?
We’re hoping to announce the winners by the end of May 2015.

What are the prizes?
The winning entries (and any honorable mentions) will be featured on the national site at, plus the winner in each bracket will receive one of the recycled coin pouches from Gambia, Africa! The winners’ classroom (or homeschool group) will also receive a free Skype visit from author Miranda Paul plus a signed copy of the book for their school or homeschool library! But really, in this kind of contest, everyone wins.

Do little kids compete with big kids?
The contest is open to any child in grades Pre-K through 8th grade (approx. ages 3-14). However, the judges will take a child’s age/grade into consideration. Judges will award one winner in each bracket:
Bracket 1: Pre-K through 1st grade
Bracket 2: 2nd grade – 5th grade
Bracket 3: 6th grade – 8th grade

How will the entries be judged?
Judges will select winners based on originality and plausibility as well as execution of design, product name, and written information provided on the form.

Is there a fee to enter the contest?
No. The contest is free and students may enter as many different ideas as they’d like.

What if I have a question that isn’t answered here?
Good question! Fill out our contact form here and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

Download the instruction page (page 1 of packet only) here.

Download the contest drawing page (page 2 of packet only) here.