Education and Outreach

America Recycles Day (ARD)

ARD is a national event (November 15th) that promotes recycling, source reduction and buying products made from recycled materials as objectives to a more sustainable society. In celebration of ARD, MDE has created the “Rethink Recycling” sculpture contest and judging ceremony to display students’ creativity and promote recycling.  The sculpture contest and judging ceremony is a great opportunity for celebrating efforts of the student artists, for media exposure and for promoting waste prevention to the general public. The sculpture contest challenges students to innovatively and artistically use recycled materials as a solution to waste reduction.  If you would like more information about ARD, visit the America Recycles Day's web page. 

"Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest2017 Sculpture Contest 

The 16th annual sculpture contest will be held on Thursday, November 30, 2017, at Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) in Baltimore.  MDE would like to extend this invitation to high school students.  Two entries will be accepted from each high school (additional entries may become available later).  The contest gives students the chance to be inventive and create a sculpture made from recyclable or reused materials (see guidelines).  Judges will select an overall winning sculpture along with individual recognition for creativity, workmanship and use of materials.  Additionally, a “People’s Choice Award” is given.  Past contests received national recognition and television news airtime.  Prizes provided from corporate and non-profit organization sponsors will be awarded to all contest entrants. Past prizes have included items such as gift cards, Tablets and an HP Pavilion X360 laptop.  

Space is limited so please complete the School Entry Form and fax it to 410-537-3321 or email it to, by October 27, 2017, to confirm your school’s participation.  The Individual Entry Form​(s) should be returned to MDE by November 16, 2017, once the participants are selected.

For more information regarding the "Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest, please contact Christy Bujnovszky at or at 410-537-4190.

2016 Sculpture Contest

The 2016 "Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest was held on November 18, 2016 at the Maryland Department of the Environment.  There were 70 entries from 33 different high schools from across the State featured in the contest. 

Parker Montour from Walkersville High School in Frederick County was the grand prize winner for her "Tony Hawk.", using chicken wire, aluminum cans, newspaper and cardboard.  She won an HP Pavilion X360 laptop for her efforts. 

The category winners, who received a Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 were:

  • CreativityKiara Byrd, Suitland High School, Prince George’s County, for her work entitled “Pandemonium,” using a cardboard box and a motor from an old remote control vehicle.​
  • WorkmanshipBalal Razaq, Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, Baltimore County, for creating “Prism Collision,” a lighted sculpture made of unused paint sample cards.
  • Use of MaterialsJaclyn Jew, Liberty High School, Carroll County, for “13 Steps of a Love Story,” a sculpture created using wood, cardboard, popsicle sticks, plaster, mattress foam and paper.
  • People’s Choice CategoryBrandon Funk, Century High School, Carroll County, for crafting “Rubber Ducky,” a shadow box sculpture made using a cassette tape, checker board, flashlight and other knickknacks

Second place winners, who each received $100 Amazon gift cards, were:

  • CreativityWaverly Mellies, The Calverton School, Calvert County, for “Garbage, Glass & Glue,” using newspaper, wire, cardboard, glass mirror and styrofoam.
  • WorkmanshipMaura McCann, Southern Garrett High School, Garrett County, for crafting “Time of My Life,” made from an old Christmas tree stand, PVC pipe, wire, packing paper, plastic soda bottles and aluminum cans.
  • Use of MaterialsLexi Hamilton, Mount de Sales Academy, Baltimore County, for constructing “Just Keep Swimming Ellicott City,”  made from debris and objects found near the shores of the Patapsco River after the historic flooding in Ellicott City this past summer.
  • People's ChoiceLuke Fetterman, Century High School, Carroll County, for “Pennies,” a self-portrait made entirely of pennies.

See pictures of MDE's 2016 "Rethink Recycling" Contest 

2016 Participating Schools:

  • Anne Arundel County: Arundel High School, Old Mills High School
  • Baltimore City: Archbishop Curley High School, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute, Benjamin Franklin High School
  • Baltimore County: Eastern Technical High School, Franklin High School, Jemicy Upper School, Lansdowne High School, Mount de Sales Academy, Parkville High School, Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, Randallstown High School, Redeemer Classical Christian School, Western School of Technology
  • Calvert County: The Calverton School
  • Caroline County: Colonel Richardson High School
  • Carroll County: Century High School, Liberty High School, South Carroll High School
  • Frederick County: Linganore High School, Oakdale High School, Walkersville High School
  • Garrett County: Southern Garrett County High School
  • Howard County: Glenelg Country School
  • Montgomery County: The Frost School, Northwest High School, Northwood High School
  • Prince George’s County: Eleanor Roosevelt High School, Gwynn Park High School, Northwestern High School, Suitland High School-Center for Performing Arts, Surratsville High School

In the Classroom

Some Counties offer various displays, presentations and demonstrations that travel to schools and events. Staff provides educational presentations to elementary, middle and high school students. Contact your County Coordinator to schedule a presentation.

MDE can offer educators copies of interdisciplinary activity lessons for Grades K-9. The activity lessons cover topics such as recycling, source reduction, landfills, composting, reuse, ecosystem, cycles, hazardous waste, and buy recycled. The lessons use a variety of skills and address the subjects of science, math, social studies, language arts, environmental education, art, and English. Contact MDE to receive these activities.

Recycling Websites

Recycling Websites -- for KIDS!