ISRI 2021 Youth Recycling Awareness Award Winners Demonstrate Recycling’s Essential Role

April 29, 2021

3 Min Read

Washington, DC – The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) is pleased to announce the winners of the global 2021 Youth Recycling Awareness Award designed to better educate youth on the value of recycling. Fifth grader Irene Park, from Fairburn Avenue Elementary School in Los Angeles, CA is the 2021 poster grand prize winner.  Sophomores Nadia Islam, Ada Johnsen-DeWeese, and Rosemarie Alubankudi, from Life Sciences Secondary School in New York, NY are the 2021 video grand prize winners.

“Engaging our youth in understanding the significant role of recycling in our environment, economy, communities, and beyond is of utmost importance,” said ISRI President Robin Wiener. “The annual Youth Recycling Awareness contest does just that, by challenging students to demonstrate their understanding of not just recycling, but its relevancy to our everyday lives. Each year I am impressed by the level of knowledge and creativity of entries from students of every age. Our future is undoubtedly bright in the hands of Irene, Nadia, Ada, Rosemarie, and their peers. ISRI congratulates them on a job well done.”

The theme of this year’s contest was “Recycling is Essential to My Community.” Recycling is essential to our communities and neighborhoods. Yet, in the midst of the COVID 19 crisis, it’s fallen off many of our radars. Communities that once banned single use plastics and bags are offering these again to reduce the handling of personal cloth bags. Dining and take-out is at an all-time high and carry out containers are on the rise. People are ordering goods and products online like never before in lieu of in-person shopping, increasing the need and use of cardboard boxes and packaging.

Students were tasked with creating a public service announcement in the form of a video or poster that explains to other members in their community or neighborhood why recycling is essential, why they should care, and how they can help.

"The ISRI contest winners serve as inspirational STEM leaders for JASON Learning and for students across the country,” said President and CEO of JASON Learning Eleanor Smalley. “They created innovative, well-designed work that perfectly exemplified the contest's mission: why recycling is essential to our community. The Green Team Video Crew, from New York City, captured our imaginations as they showed why recycling is essential. And Irene Park, from Los Angeles, demonstrated why zero waste makes a better place in her poster. JASON is extremely excited and proud to see these young women interested in exploring STEM and recycling."  

Irene’s poster, titled “Zero Waste, Better Place," demonstrates how more classroom recyclables can be processed properly, ensuring the valuable commodities do not end up in landfills.

The winning video, titled "Recycling is Essential to My Community," demonstrates how recycling is essential to local communities from the perspective of a cardboard box that was mistakenly placed in the trash. The video goes on to explain the importance of proper education so that communities recognize valuable recyclables.

Judges evaluated entries on the interpretation and clarity of the theme to the viewer, the persuasiveness of the message, creativity and originality, the quality of the entry, and the overall impression of the entry.

The 2021 contest received more than 125 entries from across the globe. The winners were recognized Thursday, April 29, as part of the ISRI2021 Convention and Exposition.


The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. (ISRI) is the "Voice of the Recycling Industry™." ISRI represents 1,300 companies in 20 chapters in the U.S. and more than 40 countries that process, broker, and consume scrap commodities, including metals, paper, plastics, glass, rubber, electronics, and textiles. With headquarters in Washington, DC, the Institute provides education, advocacy, safety and compliance training, and promotes public awareness of the vital role recycling plays in the U.S. economy, global trade, the environment and sustainable development. Generating nearly $116 billion annually in U.S. economic activity, the scrap recycling industry provides more than 506,000 Americans with good jobs.

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