Calling Creative High School Students Who Can Turn Trash into Treasure

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Provided by Prince William County

One person’s trash can be turned into another’s piece of art when put in the right hands. The Prince William County Environmental Management Council is looking for high school students with the touch to make that happen.

The 2015 Recycled Art Contest is open to all Prince William County public, private and home-school high school students who can turn recyclable trash – such as plastic bottles, glass, Styrofoam, scrap metal, egg cartons, foil, bottle caps, aluminum cans, plastic bags, yogurt tubs, cardboard and newspaper – into art.

Students entering the contest will need to make their artwork using entirely recyclable material with a small amount of fasteners such as screws, bolts, wire, welding, glue, tape and twine. Entries must fit into a 2x2x2-foot space and be easily moved. One entry per person is allowed.

Jennifer Boeder, a Prince William County Environmental Specialist said the contest is promoted by the Prince William County Environmental Management System Council, which cooperates with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to boost environmental sustainability, address regulatory compliance and encourage activities that save money. “Part of our commitment to that program is that we will conduct outreach to the community promoting new ideas in recycling and environmental protection.”

The council held its first art contest three years ago and has continued the program to reach students who don’t usually get called upon to raise awareness about recycling, Boeder said. “We promote to art students because we think that’s a group that’s not brought in to look at environmental matters. Everybody focuses on  science students for environmental outreach. We want to give art students a voice.” (makes me sound better!)

The artwork will be judged by council members on the use of recycled materials, creativity and originality, craftsmanship and aesthetic appeal to determine first-, second- and third-place winners along with three honorable mentions.

Entries are due on Oct. 6 and should be delivered along with an application to the Prince William County Risk Management Office at 4379 Ridgewood Center Drive in Woodbridge by 5 p.m. Winners will be announced on Oct 9.

Boeder said arrangements can be made for contestants who cannot deliver their entries to the office. “We’re flexible.If they can’t make it here, we’ll arrange for drop-offs and pickups from other County buildings. We’ll work with them.”

All entries will be displayed in the atrium of the James J. McCoart Building, at 1 County Complex Court in Woodbridge, prior to the Oct. 13 meeting of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors.

The winning six pieces of art will be exhibited at the Prince William County Landfill on Oct. 17 when the public will vote for the Best in Show. “It’s very popular with the students and the public because the art is displayed at the Recycles Day at the landfill,” Boeder said of the landfill exhibit. “It’s one of the most popular booths that they have there. People look forward to seeing what the students bring and talking to the students about their art.”

In addition to being popular with art students and the public, council members like to see what the artists bring in. “We love to see the creative ways that they can take trash and make it into something beautiful and make us look at it in a new way.”

Click here for a complete list of contest rules. People with questions should call Prince William County’s Risk Management Office at 703-792-6741 or email


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