The statewide 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 2021, KCB will not conduct the in-school. In 2022, the contest modifications outlined in this document streamline the recycling categories.

The 2021 Challenge includes three new components, completing all three resulting in recognition as a Keep California Environmental School.  


Registration: January 2-March 19, 2021

Submittal: March 31, 2021

Winner Announced: April, 2021

Registration must be completed by a teacher, school administrator, or school representative and not by an individual student. Visit for more details.

Recycling Art Contest (NEW 2021): Two categories in three groups elementary, middle, high for the competition will be



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 submission 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 submission to KCB. Depending on the school, the top school recognized artwork will move to KCB consideration.

Litter Analysis (NEW 2021): Using the KCB Environmental App, the school will complete litter assessment. The program is a classroom assignment, but assessment may be on-campus and immediate campus or modified to a neighborhood area, if applicable, due to limited on-campus activity.

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

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.

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  

Contest open to residents of California in grades 6-12 or full-time students enrolled in California institutions. Participants must be age 14 and 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.


Keep California Beautiful Environmental School (NEW 2021): Schools that complete all three components and complete a Calrecycles checklist on recycling practices and policies will receive designation as a 2021 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).


By submitting an entry Entrants agree to indemnify and hold Keep California Beautiful (KCB) and its sponsors harmless from and against any suits, claims, losses, damages and expenses, including reasonable attorney fees that may arise from or in connection with anyentrant’s submission and the use and/or display of the entrant’s submission.  Video must be at least 25 seconds, but no longer than 45 seconds in length. In accordance with these Official Rules, the Prize will be awarded to the Primary Entrant and it will be the responsibility of the Primary Entrant to distribute any prize given, if applicable. All art and videos must be entirely original work. Entries must be created solely for the purpose of entry in this contest and cannot have been submitted previously in a promotion or contest of any kind, or exhibited or previously displayed publicly through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any other means. After videos are submitted, they may not be displayed publicly through Email, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or any other means. Entities may not contain copyrighted music that requires any additional clearances for the sponsor to use or post on public websites or to use in public forums of any kind. Entries may not contain or reference any names, products or services of any company or entity or any third party trademarks, logos, trade dress or promotion of any brand, product or service.  Entries must have the permission of any persons who appear or are referred to in the submission. Entrants are solely responsible for obtaining consent prior to submitting their video. Formal submission of your video will represent any required clearances. In the event where clearances are not covered, the submission will be disqualified.

K-12 Challenge 2022

For 2022, KCB will streamline the recycling challenge categories.

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.

Modified 1.22.2021