Maine Students Challenged to Innovate and Upcycle Waste

Maine’s leader in sustainable waste management encourages students to repurpose waste items into usable creations, diverting them from landfills.

PORTLAND, Maine (January 12, 2024) – ecomaine is thrilled to announce the launch of its Upcycle Challenge for 2024, targeted at students from grades 1st to 6th, and 7th to 12th with the opportunity to win a $250 award in their respective age groups.

The Upcycle Challenge invites students from ecomaine’s member communities to transform discarded items into fresh, functional designs. Submissions must be made by Friday, March 29th, incorporate post-consumer materials, demonstrate ingenuity and functionality, involve students in the process, and receive approval from a teacher or advisor. ecomaine’s Outreach & Recycling Committee will carefully select a group of finalists from the submissions.

During Earth Month in April 2024, the public will then have the chance to vote for their favorite designs among the finalists.

Bea Johnson, ecomaine’s Environmental Educator, expressed admiration for Maine’s students, stating, “Each year, we are truly amazed by the inventive ideas presented by these students. Their commitment to reducing waste in landfills and their exceptional creativity result in incredible, functional, and resourceful designs.”

Previous iterations of the Upcycle Challenge have witnessed remarkable entries such as a working chandelier crafted from old plastic bottles, a bike rack created from repurposed bicycles, fashionable garments made from plastic and discarded fabrics, hair scrunchies repurposed from old clothing, furniture made out of old tires, and even movie projectors ingeniously constructed from miscellaneous discarded materials.

For guidelines, rules, and the entry form, please visit our page here. 

About ecomaine

ecomaine is the Portland-based nonprofit, recycling and waste-to-energy operation that serves a third of the state’s population in more than 70 member communities through single-sort recycling, organics/food waste programming, waste-to-energy, and an “ashfill” landfill.  In 2023, ecomaine reached more than 73,000 students and members of the public through grants, tours, presentations, and events to promote sustainability in waste management.