Keep America Beautiful Presents Recycle-Bowl Competition


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K-12 Workshop- KAB RecycleBowl Awards & Developing a Sustainable School Program: Kelly Dennings from KAB gives an overview of the RecycleBowl competition to motivate schools to start recycling programs.

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  • Thank you for the opportunity to review with you the success we’ve had with Recycle-Bowl so far. A special shout out to Nestle Waters as our founding sponsor of this program. Without their support we could not have accomplished such great work. Raise your hand if you had a school participate in Recycle-Bowl last year.
  • School recycling programs: Create community norms. Young kids look up to older kids and they can be role models for good behavior. The Recycle-Bowl competition is more than just a competition. Keep America Beautiful sees this as an opportunity to create real change within school systems. Teach responsibility and environmental stewardship. Isn’t it required that schools touch on these behaviors as it relates to character trait building? One common character trait taught in school is responsibility. Recycling can provide that teaching moment. By instilling individual responsibility with our children at school we hope it transcends home. Provide hands-on learning experiences. Kids learn best by doing. Recycle-Bowl also provides Keep America Beautiful with an opportunity to work with schools on other projects like school gardens, environmental literacy, composting, and so on. Make a difference in waste reduction. Schools can recycle approximately 6 pounds of material per student per year. At my old job with the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resource, we had 50% of our public schools recycling. Our goal was to reach 100%. That is a similar goal I bring to KAB. We want to see 100% of US schools recycling year round.
  • Be careful about your use of direct competition, where one is competing directly with another group or individual. While this type of competition can be quite effective at motivating action, if winning is overemphasized, it may compromise participants’ feelings of self-esteem if they do not win. Next is extrinsic rewards, which are incentives that are external to the individual, such as money, food, or prizes. One of the best uses of extrinsic rewards is for encouraging initial participation. If your audience has barriers to recycling such as misperceptions, disinterest, or opposition to the behavior, a small extrinsic reward can increase the likelihood of initial participation, and from there the participant can try out recycling and see how it can fit into their life. However, it is important to make sure rewards are not too large or valuable, which can make it all about getting the reward, rather than any other motivation to recycle. Feedback is defined as providing information about level of success or need for improvement. Feedback works best for those who are performing well below a set goal, such as very high producers of waste, so if you have a particularly low-performing school or a low-performing building, provide feedback to motivate them.
  • Eligible schools include: public, private and charter. Schools will collect and track recycling of cans, bottles and paper for 4 weeks mid-October to mid-November. The competition will culminate on America Recycles Day and schools are encouraged to hold an ARD event at their school.
  • Public, Private, Charter US schools - US territories, Canada or Mexico in Open Division Registration toolkits available (1000-1200) Single stream or source separated Weigh recyclables and/or convert from volume-weight Provide published population figure if winner Accept from community/parents put in community category or clearly track material from school only before putting in community recycling bin
  • One school per state with the most recyclable material per capita will win $1000. A national champion will be chosen from the top state winners to receive an additional prize valued at $2000. Schools that host a community recycling drop-off program will compete nationally in a separate category for first, second- and third- place cash prizes. The first place prize is $1000, the second place prize is $750 and the third place prize is $500. This year’s sponsor of the national community prize is Resolute.
  • This slide describes what material is acceptable. For those collecting commingled material, if you have a hauling partner that accepts something not on this list, we are not asking that you separate it out during the competition. The one item not acceptable is food waste. However this will most likely not be commingled with other items listed on the screen.
  • On the Recycle-Bowl website, under “Playbook” you will find these downloadable resources: The logo The competition posters – for those that want more or do not get the registration toolkit Flyers Scorecards to help keep track of material collected each week Participation certificates This presentation incase you need to give it to your school board or town council
  • Also under the Playbook we have support material such as a sample: Community service letter for high school students that help with the competition Custodian thank you letter Newspaper and radio PSAs for your local media E-newsletter article, blog post and social media updates Community cable access TV slide
  • In the Playbook, under Educational Resources you will find: recycling activities, waste management activities, a recycling jeopardy game that is interactive, a MRF video and great recycling stats and facts that includes the corresponding calculations to localize for your community.
  • Top participating states were TX, AZ, NC. All 50 states (plus DC) represented. Four states that did not report results from the school division were AK, NH, OK and OR.
  • 90% were public schools, 7% were private schools, and 3% were charter schools. 53% were elementary, 18% were middle and 19% were high. 36% of schools were in a suburban area, 21% in rural, 32% in urban and 1% in mix.
  • Total = 4,493,157 pounds Total commingled = 2,539,247 pounds Total source separated = 1,953,909 pounds
  • Keep America Beautiful’s future goals for the competition include increasing our participation numbers to 1750 schools in 2013. We plan to do that via the registration incentive toolkit, increasing school system registrations and incentivizing recycling coordinators. Raise your hand if you have kids in school? OK. You guys are my low-hanging fruit. I hope all of your children’s schools participate next year. We will also be piloting a waste reduction category for those schools that want to not only track recycling but track their waste. - - - - - - - We will continue to pursue other additional partnerships to help the competition improve its reach. We want to maximize award ceremony media opportunities and focus on on-line media outlets. Lastly, we want to utilize the Recycle-Bowl competition to promote environmental literacy across various topics.
  • Registration will be open in May. The first 1000 schools that register will get a toolkit. The toolkit will include printed competition posters, . . . . . The competition will be held October 21 through November 15. Reporting of data will begin right after the competition ends and run through December 11. This should allow those schools with hauling partners enough time to get data. Winners will be announced in February 2014. Registration Opens: May 2013 Competition Dates: October 21- November 15 Recycling Reports Due: December 11 Winners Announced: February 2014
  • If you have further questions feel free to contact me. Thanks again to Nestle Waters and all their support for the Recycle-Bowl competition. This program can really move the needle for recycling and environmental literacy.
  • The competition is held in the fall from mid-October to mid-November. Schools collect, track and report how many pounds of cans, bottles and paper they collected during that timeframe. The data is then divided by the number of students in each school to level the playing field.
  • KAB became the coordinator for America Recycles Day, the public education and awareness event, in 2009. Activities range from promotion of the on-line recycling pledge, to education activities to recycling collection events. By registering your November 15 th event you receive promotional collateral for use at your school. Registration open to all at
  • Each year we partner with Coca-Cola on a bin grant program. We distribute around 3000 recycling bins to over 80 communities. Schools are eligible. This year the grant application will close on March 2 nd . The online application form is available at
  • We have a Pre-K through 6 th grade elementary activity guide called Waste in Place. The graphic on the screen shows the “community” of characters that have been incorporated into the activities as well as into new children’s books, games and story cards. These will be available on our website soon.
  • The Great American Cleanup is held March through May. By registering your cleanup/green-up school event you can receive free resources such as bags and gloves. Visit to register.
  • We have a new program that is just starting called Get Growing. Our focus for this will be school and community gardens, tree and native plantings and other sustainable greening practices. We are just building this out but there are some opportunities available for free flower and vegetable seeds and a grant program we are running through the Lowe’s foundation. More information can be found at the KAB booth in the exhibit hall.
  • Keep America Beautiful Presents Recycle-Bowl Competition

    1. 1. Nationwide K-12school recyclingcompetition1Join in on the fun, score bigand win!
    2. 2. Why Recycle at School?2School recycling programs:Create community normsTeach responsibility andenvironmental stewardshipProvide hands-on learningexperiencesMake a difference in wastereduction
    3. 3. Behavior Change TheoryCompetitionoDon’t overemphasize winningIncentivesoNot too valuableFeedbackoBest for those below goalsoMake feedback positive3
    4. 4. 4RACE ISON
    5. 5. 5How To ParticipateSchoolscollect andtrack cans,bottles andpaper for 4weeks
    6. 6. Competition Components6• Public, Private, Charter• US schools - US territories, Canada or Mexicoin Open Division• Registration toolkits available (1000-1200)• Single stream or source separated• Weigh recyclables and/or convert fromvolume-weight• Provide published population figure if winner• Accept from community/parents put incommunity category or clearly track materialfrom school only before putting incommunity recycling bin
    7. 7. PrizesOne school/state will win $1000.National champion from state winners will winan additional prize valued at $2000.7Communityrecycling schoolswill competenationally in aseparatecategory for 1st,2ndand 3rdplaceprizes.
    8. 8. 8Acceptable MaterialCafeteria materials:Aluminum beveragecontainersCartonsGlass bottles and jars#1-7 plastic bottlesSteel food cansPaper:ChipboardCardboardMagazines/NewspaperOffice paperPhone booksAs accepted by the recycling drop-offor service provider.
    9. 9. 9RESOURCES
    10. 10. Playbook - Downloadable10LogoPostersFlyerScorecardsCertificatePresentation
    11. 11. Playbook – Support Material11Community ServiceLetterCustodian Thank YouLetterSample Newspaper andRadio PSAsE-newsletter, blog posts,etc.Community Access CableTV slideARD School Event Ideas
    12. 12. Playbook – Educational Resources12Recycling activitieso Logos and Sloganso MRF in Actiono Plastics by the NumbersWaste ManagementActivitieso Source Reductiono Recyclingo Compostingo Waste-to-Energyo LandfillsRecycling JeopardyMRF VideoRecycling Stats and Facts
    13. 13. 13RESULTS
    14. 14. # of Schools Registered 1577Reporting percentage 72%# of Students Reached 901,508Total Pounds Recycled 4.5 millionAverage Pounds per Capita 5.62 lbs/capitaParticipants with a hauling partner 80%• 25% increase in registrations from 2011• 51% of schools that registered in 2011returned in 2012Continuing the Success
    15. 15. Who we reach90% public53% elementary
    16. 16. Impact Metrics4.3% of schools reportedthat they did not have arecycling program at thestart of the competition,compared to 1.6% thatreported this at the end ofthe competition.55% said they saw “some” or“significant” increase inrecycling during thecompetition.
    17. 17. 17RIPPLEEFFECT
    18. 18. Future GoalsReach 1750 schools in 2013oContinue to provide anincentive toolkitoIncrease whole school systemregistrationsoIncentivize recyclingcoordinatorsPilot a waste reduction category18
    19. 19. 2013 Timeline19Registration opens – May 2013oWill allow multiple registrations peraccount for recycling coordinatorsCompetition starts – October 21Competition ends – November 15Data due – December 11Award ceremony – February2014
    20. 20. Massachusetts Winner20Captain Samuel BrownSchool Elementary8 pounds percapitaBest of 9schools in MA133 in US
    21. 21. For More InformationKelley Denningskdennings@kab.org202-688-0605www.Recycle-Bowl.org21
    22. 22. 22KABRESOURCES
    23. 23. Schoolscollect andtract cans,bottles andpaper for 4weeksRecycle-Bowl
    24. 24. America Recycles Day
    25. 25. Recycling Bin Grants- Recycling on the Go- 3000 recycling bins distributed- 80 communities- Closed March 2nd- Visit
    26. 26. Waste in Place activity guide
    27. 27. Great American Cleanup
    28. 28. Get Growing