ecomaine invites Maine students to invent new items from waste with Upcycle Challenge

Maine’s leader in sustainable waste management calls for students’ designs that upcycle waste items into new, usable ones, diverting waste from landfills

ecomaine has announced the 2023 launch of its school-based Upcycle Challenge, which will award $500 to a participating student’s school.

The Upcycle Challenge asks students in ecomaine’s member communities to use items that ordinarily would have been disposed of, to make all-new, functional ones and submit them by Friday, March 31.  From the submissions, ecomaine’s Outreach & Recycling Committee will select a group of finalists, based on the incorporation of post-consumer materials, the ingenuity and functionality of the new creation, inclusion of students in the process, as well as the approval from a teacher or advisor.

Following the determination of finalists, the designs will be voted on by the public through the end of Earth Month, April 2023.

In the past, the Upcycle Challenge has seen entries including:

  • A working chandelier made from old plastic bottles
  • A bike rack made from old bicycles
  • Clothing fashioned from plastic, old fabric, and other materials
  • Old clothing turned into hair scrunchies
  • Furniture from old tires
  • Movie projectors made from all kinds of would-be-junk materials

“Every year, we’re blown away by the creativity of Maine’s students,” said Matt Grondin, ecomaine’s Director of Communications & Public Affairs.  “It’s clear that these young ecomaineiacs have the desire to keep materials out of our landfills and have the ingenuity to make some incredibly fun, functional, and resourceful new designs.”

Guidelines, rules, and the entry form can be found online at