2022 Registration Opens November 15th!

K-12 Challenge for the 2021-2022 Academic Year



The statewide K-12 Recycling Challenge has been held annually with great enthusiasm to promote and encourage recycling. The competition between schools and recycling coordinators resulted in over 7.7 million pounds of recyclables collected in the past five years. For 2022, the in-school recycling competition materials categories will be streamlined.

2022 K-12 Recycling Challenge Components

The California K-12 Recycling Challenge includes three components, completing all three earns recognition as a Keep California Beautiful Environmental School.

  1. Recycling Art Contest
  2. Video Contest
  3. Environmental App Litter Assessment
  4. Keep California Beautiful Environmental School Designation

1. Recycling Art Contest

There are two competition categories for elementary, middle, and high schools:

  • Best Presentation


  • Best Use of Recycled Materials




  • All artwork must be comprised of recyclable materials with a minimum of 50% recycled content.

  • Students will provide a title for the artwork and no more than 200 words describing the artwork and materials used to create it. 

  • Contestants submit 1-2 pictures of the artwork uploaded to the KCB Art website. Individual school recognition or prioritization is recommended but optional before submittal to KCB. 



President’s Recognition (1) Best Overall from all categories

Certificates for places 1-3 by grade level and Best Presentation and Best Use of Recycled Materials 

A student may work independently on a submittal or work together as a group on design with one student responsible for producing the artwork. Pictures of the artwork will be sent to school representatives before submittal to KCB. Students will submit art to the school, then the school will select which art to submit for consideration in the contest. 

2. Keep California Beautiful Video Contest

We challenge students to tackle the issue of litter or organic recycling (food waste reduction) in a 25-45 second video clip. The winning video, determined by a panel of judges, including educators, government officials, and civic leaders, will appear on the KCB Green Schools website and social media platforms. The winner in each division will receive a prize per submission to be determined.  

Category (4 recognitions) Grades 6-8 and 9-12  

  1. Litter 
  2. Organic Recycling/Edible Food Recovery

The contest is open to residents of California in grades 6-12 or full-time students enrolled in California institutions. Participants must be age 14 or older at the time of the video submission. All entries must include a teacher or parent listed as the contact for anyone under 18 years of age. 


Registration: January 2-March 19, 2022

Submittal Deadline: March 31, 2022

Winner Announced: Earth Week – April 21-23, 2022


CalRecycle – Planning for SB 1383 Implementation

3. Campus Litter Analysis

Using the KCB Environmental App, the school will complete a litter assessment. The program is a classroom assignment, but the assessment may be on-campus and areas adjacent to campus or modified to a neighborhood area, if applicable, due to limited on-campus activity. 

CSU Sacramento Litter Map
CSU Sacramento Litter Mapping Survey

Instructions include measuring an area at designated school locations, including but limited to:

  • entry to the main building
  • area near cafeteria
  • bus stop
  • teacher parking
  • student parking, if applicable or parent pick up, if applicable, and 
  • athletic or playground area
  • along the street adjacent to campus 
  • neighborhood area within one (1) block walking distance from campus, if applicable.

Students will use the App to record litter conditions based on a 1–4 Likert Scale with 1 as No Litter and 4 as Extreme Litter. Students will report the most frequently found litter item on the App. Based on the results, the students will prepare a brief maximum 500-word plan to address litter.

Home Option Litter Analysis

Using the KCB Environmental App, the student will complete an assessment of litter in their neighborhood. Working with an adult, students measure at 5 areas:

Students will use the App to record litter conditions based on a 1-4 Likert Scale with 1 as No Litter and 4 as Extreme Litter. Students will report the most frequently found litter item. Based on the results, the students will prepare a brief maximum 500-word plan to address litter. 

The teacher/school will submit a brief summary of the activity and ideas collected. KCB report will include typical or common methods as a checklist as part of the report, to simplify submittal.

4. Keep California Beautiful Environmental School

Schools that complete all three components and complete a CalRecycle checklist on recycling practices and policies will receive designation as a Keep California Beautiful Environmental School. An online certificate will be available, and all schools completing the requirements will be entered into a school recycling bin mark-over (prize pending).  

School Resources

Environmental App Instructions

1. Click Survey Link
(Provided by Teacher to Get Started)


2. Download the App

3. Bypass 1st Sign-in

4. Open the Survey

5. Enter User and PW

6. Name and Email

7. Enter School Name

8. Complete Survey

9. Send Results

10. Confirm Sent

Environmental App Demonstration Video


Program Totals 2015-2020

2022 School Registration

2022 School Art and Video Entry Form

Art and Video can be submitted through the form below at any time.

The form for submitting recycling data will be sent to each school at the end of February.


Sponsors and Partners

Keep California Beautiful K-12 Challenge Sponsors

Foodservice Packaging Institute

PaperSeed Foundation

Keep the Cap On

Endorsers and Promotional Partners


ABA Logo

Mobius Intelligent Systems

K-12 Challenge 2022

Coming Back in 2022!

In 2022 Keep California Beautiful will resume the K-12 Recycling Challenge school collection competition and streamline the materials categories.

2021- 2022 Timeline

Quarterly Recognition Submittals

  • September 30
  • December 30
  • March 30 (K-12 Challenge)
  • June 30  

K-12 Challenge

Registration Open: November 15-January 31

Challenge: February 1-28

Report: March 30


Individual K-12 schools or School District

•Overall school students per capita  
•Material Categories (total weight)
•CRV Beverage Containers (bottles, cans, glass)
•Comingled/Single Stream Recycling
•Milk and Juice Cartons
•Food Service and Organics (Compostables) 

14 Cash Prizes

Overall District

Overall School

Places 1-3 each Material Category



The competition timeframe is February 1 – April 22, 2022.

Recycling Challenge – February 1-28

Recycling Art Contest –Submit by March 31

Litter Analysis using KCB Environmental App – Completed by March 31

Results Announced Earth Day Press Event April 19-23, 2022 

Recycling Challenge: An individual school or a school district may compete.

Individual K-12 schools may enter and compete in four categories (reduced from 9 to 4) and overall school students per capita and total weight.

  1. CRV Beverage Containers (bottles, cans, glass)
  2. Comingled/Single Stream Recycling
  3. Milk and Juice Cartons
  4. Food Service and Organics (Compost)

School districts may enter and compete for overall school district student per capita and total weight.

KCB will recognize a total of 14 cash prizes: the overall district (1), overall school (1), and places 1-3 in each category (12).  

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