New York Recycles! Poster Contest

Rules for the 2023 Contest

The NYS Association of Reduction, Reuse and Recycling (NYSAR3) will be sponsoring the New York Recycles! Poster contest again in 2023.  The contest was previously sponsored by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). This poster contest helps New York to achieve our goal of higher excellence in waste reduction, recycling, composting, and buying recycled products and packaging. The New York State winners receive the honor of having their artwork featured in the 2024 New York Recycles! calendar, a framed copy of their winning poster, and other prizes.

We hope your student, school district, or organization will participate in this worthwhile event and we look forward to working with you! Please read the poster requirements and judging criteria carefully. Only posters that meet the poster requirements and judging criteria will be considered.


All students in kindergarten through 12th grade in New York State public and private schools, youth organizations or home schooled are welcome to participate. If a student's school or classroom is not participating, a student may still submit an individual entry.

2023 Themes

Participants should use our theme description webpage to help guide their posters.

  • The First R - Reduction!
  • Reduce Your Single Use

Students are encouraged to share their views on these themes. For more information and ideas for your poster, check out the DEC website on waste reduction, reuse, recycling, composting and buying recycled products and packaging and our website on theme ideas for the poster contest. If you need help brainstorming, these are great resources!

Poster Requirements


Posters must be received no later than May 26, 2023. Please note that all artwork submitted becomes the property of NYSAR3, is retained and may be reproduced.

Poster content:

  • All posters should be reflective of the contest themes listed above.
  • Posters created by students must be their own original artwork. Copyrighted characters (such as Superman) or copyrighted clip art will not be accepted.
  • Posters must be clearly legible.


  • Any variety of media may be used (watercolor, pen and ink, crayon, chalk, markers, etc.) but bright colors are best.
  • Students are encouraged to incorporate recycled or recyclable materials into their creations. 
    • Note:If students are incorporating recyclables into their artwork, depth is restricted to half an inch.

Size & Layout:

Minimum: 8½" x 11"
Maximum: 18" x 24"
Landscape Layout only!!

Poster Submission:

Each poster must have the Release Form (PDF) included with poster submission. A poster not accompanied by a completed Release Form will not be eligible for further judging. The posters and Release Forms must be received by May 26, 2023.  

Electronic Submission Instructions:

All posters must be submitted electronically.
Posters along with completed Release Forms must be submitted to; please note in the subject line "2023 New York Recycles Poster Contest."

A high-quality digital JPEG file formats is preferred, but high quality PNG and PDF format will also be accepted. Resolution should be 300 dpi. Please hold on to your original poster until June 30th in case your poster is selected, and we find we need you to re-submit a higher-quality version. If you have any questions about suitable formats, please contact us at NYSAR3 Gmail email here.

Judging Criteria

  1. The poster meets the poster requirements section listed above.
  2. The poster message is clearly conveyed by the text and artwork.
  3. The poster shows creativity, originality and artistic quality.
  4. The poster shows visual clarity and can be easily read.
  5. Preference will be given to posters that follow the theme.
  6. The Release Form is completed and included with electronic submissions.

Judging Procedure

For 2023, there isn’t a limit on the number of posters accepted from each school or youth organization. However, only one poster from each student can be accepted for the contest.

For state judging, the posters will be grouped in one of the following five categories:

  • Kindergarten through 3rd Grade;
  • 4th through 6th Grade;
  • 7th through 9th Grade;
  • 10th through 12th Grade; and
  • Special Education

Awards will be based on the number of poster submissions received in each category. Each grade
category will be judged based on the poster requirements section listed above and judging criteria
section listed above.


State Winners

Winners in each grade category will receive a framed copy of their winning artwork and other prizes. Posters from the final State judging will be featured in the 2024 New York Recycles! calendar.

Winners and two family members are invited to the NYSAR3 Annual Conference and Trade Show  in Cooperstown, NY and given a chance to present their artwork and what it means to them, if they chose. Their posters will be
displayed during the Annual Awards Luncheon.

Please Remember:

  • Entries must meet the poster requirements specified above and must have the Release Form (PDF)(19 KB) included with submission.
  • All artwork submitted becomes the property of the NYSAR3 and may be reproduced.

Important Dates For The Contest Are

No later than May 26, 2023
- Posters must be received by email for state judging.

Week of June 5, 2023
- NYSAR3 conducts State judging.

No later than June 9, 2023
- NYSAR3 notifies winners through their school or youth organization, and gives further instruction as to student recognition.

June 30, 2023  
- Hold on to the original poster in case your poster is selected and we find we need you to re-submit a higher-quality version.

If you have any questions on this poster contest please call Kelli Timbrook at NYSAR3 at (518) 410-6451 .


Past Winners

2023 Calendar Cover

The 2023 winners are:

Grades K-3

Derek Pankratz,  Oquenock Elementary School

Easton Fenster,  Love of Learning Montessori

Iris Hefferman,  Arongen Elementary School

Braelyn Barr,  Oquenock Elementary School

Grades 4-6

Ella Fores,  Ichabod Crane Central School

Tessa Cherry-Woode,  All Saints Catholic Academy

Samantha Jimenez,  Woodhull Intermediate

Francesca D'Eloia,  Woodhull Intermediate

Grades 10-12

Kathryn Arbegast,  Rush Henrietta SHS

Emma Werkmeister,  Victor High School

Allison Lettman,  Victor High School

Andy Mugisha,  Union Springs Academy

Honorable Mentions

Luna Pankratz,  Oquenock Elementary School

Simone Bazile,  Woodhull Intermediate

Ericka Bauer,  Union Springs Academy

Katelyn Merle,  Fairport High School

Annick Igihozo,  Union Springs Academy