Recycled Sculpture Contest

America Recycles Day

America Recycles Day (ARD) is a national event (November 15th) that promotes recycling, source reduction and buying products made from recycled materials as objectives to a more sustainable society. In celebration of ARD, MDE has created the “Rethink Recycling” sculpture contest and judging ceremony to display students’ creativity and promote recycling.  The sculpture contest and judging ceremony is a great opportunity for celebrating efforts of the student artists, for media exposure and for promoting waste prevention to the general public. The sculpture contest challenges students to innovatively and artistically use recycled materials as a solution to waste reduction.  If you would like more information about ARD, visit the America Recycles Day's web page.

Maryland Department of the Environment's "Rethink Recycl​ing" Online Sculpture Gallery 2020

Secretary Ben Grumbles Welcome​


 2020 Online Sculpture Gallery


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Two Frederick Students Win ‘Rethink Recycling’ Art Competition

BALTIMORE (Nov. 24, 2020) — Two students from Linganore High School in Frederick — Peyton Johnson and Tatum Hart— were online voters’ choices to win this year’s virtual “Rethink Recycling” student art show. Rethink Recycling challenges Maryland high school students to use recycled materials to create artistic and innovative sculptures.

The annual competition, which is normally held in person with judges at Montgomery Park Auditorium in Baltimore City, was conducted online this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Student artists around the state took photographs of the art they assembled from various recycled components and submitted them online to a virtual gallery. Winners were selected by online voting. Seventy artists participated and 350 votes were cast.

“We had a large number of student artists participate, even with the pandemic disruption, and the quality of their work was outstanding,” Environment Secretary Ben Grumbles said. “Maryland’s youthful artists inspire us all to reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink waste so we can keep protecting the environment and fighting climate change.”

Johnson’s entry, titled “Salvarnos” (Spanish for “save us”), depicts a blue throated macaw and was crafted from discarded cans, PVC pipe, and chicken wire frame previously used in old projects. 

“There are many species of macaws that are critically endangered,” Johnson wrote in his entry. “I love these birds and never want them to go extinct.”

Hart’s entry, called “Where Some Sea Waste…,” is the figure of a crab crafted from an old set of camping utensils used by her family on trips and which she found in the bottom of a recycling container scheduled for pickup. 

“As I have gotten older, I have become more aware of polluted waters and dying animals. I hope to inspire others to recycle and be mindful of their environmental impact,” Hart wrote.

2020 Sculpture Contest Press Release


Due to COVID-19, MDE did not have an in-person sculpture contest in 2020.  MDE hosted a virtual sculpture "gallery" where high school students submited photos/videos of their sculptures and the sculptures were featured on MDE's website for viewing. 

For more information regarding the "Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest, please contact Christy Bujnovszky at or at 410-537-4190.​

2019 Sculpture Contest

The 2019 "Rethink Recycling" Sculpture Contest was held on November 22, 2019 at the Maryland Department of the Environment.  There were 66 entries from 20 different high schools from across the State featured in the contest. 

See pictures of MDE's 2019 sculpture contest winners​

  Jorja Rodgers from Century High School in Carroll County was the Grand Prize winner for her sculpture, “Silhouette of Selena,” made using paper and plastic which created a shadow image on a backdrop. She received an Xbox One X Star Wars edition for her efforts.  

The category winners, who received a Sony wireless earbuds were: 

  • CreativityMartina Barber, Suitland High School, Prince George’s County, for “Kamikaze,” using crayons, paper, cardboard, hair and recycling bins as materials.
  • WorkmanshipCasey Wehrman, Suitland High School, Prince George’s County, for creating “Body of Distortion,” made of newspaper, cardboard, paper pulp and charcoal..
  • Use of MaterialsAlex Vagnier, Winters Mill High School, Carroll County, for “lDK,” made of a personal computer, lamp, light switch, plexiglass, bottle caps and a waffle iron.
  • People’s ChoiceSam Birkenthal, Towson High School, Baltimore County, for “Six Nineteen”, using only cardboard.
Second place winners, who each received $100 Amazon gift cards, were:
  •  CreativityNikki Hamidi, Northwest High School, Montgomery County, for her work entitled “Caffeine in Color.”
  • WorkmanshipTony Leal, Suitland High School, Prince George’s County, for crafting “Deer of Reflection.”
  •  Use of MaterialsAllison Johnson, Fort Hill High School, Allegany County, for constructing “Recycled Head.”
  • People’s ChoiceEmily Giffhorn, South Carroll High School, Carroll County, for “Turtley Awesome."
See pictures of MDE's 2019 "Rethink Recycling" Contest 

2019 Participating Schools:

  • Allegany County: Fort Hill High School
  • Anne Arundel County: Broadneck High School, Glen Burnie High School
  • Baltimore City: Archbishop Curley, Baltimore Polytechnic Institute
  • Baltimore County: Patapsco High School & Center for the Arts, Towson High School
  • Carroll County: Century High School, South Carroll High School, Winters Mill High School
  • Frederick County: Walkersville High School
  • Garrett County: Southern Garrett High School
  • Harford County: Aberdeen High School, C. Milton Wright High School
  • Howard County: Glenelg Country School
  • Kent County: Kent County High School
  • Montgomery County: Northwest High School
  • Prince George’s County: Suitland High School-Center for Performing Arts
  • St. Mary's County: Leonardtown High School
  • Washington County: North Hagerstown High School

2019 Sculpture Contest (November 22, 2019)

Montgomery Park Auditorium
1800 Washington Blvd. Baltimore MD  21230

Schedule of Events

10:00  Doors open

10:15  Welcome from Maryland Department of the Environment

10:20  Opening remarks 

12:00  People's C​h​oice judging ends

12:30  Award presentation begins

1:00    Contest ends