By UW Recycling | Feb 1, 2023
purple background with white university of washington w; text reads uw recycling 2023 trash art contest; image is of a dress made of trash; caption of image says metamorphosis by isabella harris

UW Recycling is excited to host another Trash Art Contest for 2023!

Categories include literature, 2D and 3D art. Participants must create an art piece from items normally thought of as trash or a literary piece about waste. 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.

Submissions are due March 22, 2023 at 4 p.m. PST. Winners for each category will receive $100 or $50 gift cards to a low waste store.

(Form opens February 15, 2023)

Submission form

The 2022 contest received over 20 unique submissions. Check out UW Recycling’s Flickr album to view all of the art submissions.

Full contest details

How to submit

Participants must fill out the submission form by Wednesday March 22, 2023 at 4 p.m. PST. Submission must include: artist name, medium, piece name, and a brief description of the art piece.

Contest rules

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

  • Artist must be a current UW student, faculty or staff member.
  • The art piece may not be a piece previously submitted to the contest.
  • The piece can be an individual or group project. Each participant may only submit one project, whether it is a group project or individual submission. Each winning entry will receive one gift card.
  • The art piece may be submitted under one of the following categories:
    • Literature (essay, poetry, drama, story or other written work)

    • 2D (painting, photography, collage or other pieces that may be hung from a wall)

    • 3D (sculpture, model or other pieces that stand upright)

  • 2D and 3D art pieces must be composed of recycled, salvaged or collected litter materials, or express sentiments on the subject matter.

  • All projects should be safe to handle (no hazards, etc.) along with being socially and culturally appropriate.


Winners for each category will receive a gift card of their choosing to one of the following locations. 1st place winners will receive a $100 e-gift card and 2nd place will receive a $50 dollar e-gift card.

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
  • Interpretation and clarity of waste/sustainability theme
  • Material usage
  • Relevance to personal and/or the UW campus waste

Download guidelines as PDF

Watch UW Recycling's social media for updates

The contest is part of Campus Race to Zero Waste. Follow @UWRecycling on Instagram to get updates on this year's activities and win prizes!