By UW Recycling | Feb 15, 2021
Trash Art Contest blog image

UW Recycling is excited to host another Trash Art Contest for 2021! The contest is part of this year's Campus Race to Zero Waste (previously RecycleMania).

The categories this year are literature, visual arts and graphic arts. Participants must create an art piece from items normally thought of as trash. Art pieces should express feelings or ideas about waste, or a sustainability topic that relates to waste. This contest is open to all UW students, faculty and staff.

In 2020, the UW Recycling selection committee was blown away by the winning art pieces made from items considered to be trash.

Submissions are due March 26 at 4 p.m. PST. Winners for each category will receive $100 or $50 gift cards to a local art store or low waste store.

Submission form

Full contest details

How to submit

Participants must fill out the submission form by Friday March 26 at 4 p.m. PST. Submission must include: artist name, medium, piece name and a brief description of the art piece.


While the theme may be a broader sustainability topic, it must relate to waste or an idea about waste in a meaningful capacity.

Contest rules

Submissions that do not meet these requirements will not be considered.

  • Artist must be a current UW student or staff member.
  • The art piece can be an individual or group project.
    • Each participant may contribute to only one art project submission, whether it is a group project or an individual submission.
  • The art piece may be submitted under one of the following categories:
    • Literature (essay, poetry, drama, or a story)
    • Visual arts (painting, drawing, collage, or sculpture)
    • Graphic arts (photography, design, and other forms expressed digitally)
  • All projects should be safe to handle (no hazards, etc.) along with being socially and culturally appropriate.
  • The art piece must be composed of recycled, salvaged or collected litter materials, or express sentiments on the subject matter.


Winners for each category will receive an e-gift card of their choosing to one of the following locations. 1st place winners will receive a $100 gift card and 2nd place will receive a $50 dollar gift card. Each of these stores offer safe, local curbside pickup and also ship within the United States.

Winners will also have their art pieces, artist bios and piece descriptions highlighted on UW Sustainability's In our Nature blog.

Judging criteria

Winning submissions will be scored based on the following criteria for each category:

  • Originality/creativity
  • Theme
  • Material usage
  • Relevance to personal and/or UW campus waste

Download guidelines as PDF

Watch our social media for updates

Follow @UWRecycling on Instagram and Facebook to get updates on our events and win prizes!