For this year’s ISRI/JASON Learning recycling awareness contest, students in grades K-12 across the U.S. sent posters or videos that communicated one central theme: Recycling can make a positive impact on climate challenges.

The posters and videos serve as public service announcements to raise awareness around recycling. Students show how climate change affects their own communities and how recycling helps minimize that impact by reducing carbon emissions. They name a specific recyclable commodity and illustrate how recycling that material helps minimize carbon emissions and save energy. Pupils use their artwork to explain how communities could recycle materials properly and sustainably.

High school seniors Mark Monteleone and Joei Tarrazi from Marine Academy of Science and Technology (MAST) in Highlands, N.J., created this year’s winning poster submission. Their project explores how rising sea levels have affected their coastal community, and how recycling rubber tires can serve as a solution to climate change by reducing carbon emissions. The poster recommends steps people can take locally, such as donating old tires to local manufacturers or use the tires themselves to turn into a gravel substitute, wastewater treatment filter, or garden mulch.

Hailing from Long Branch, N.J., Mark is a very driven person who has a passion for baking, exercising, and spending time with friends. Though he works during the year he still makes plenty of time during the summer for relaxing at the beach, listening to music, and going out with friends. He will be attending college in fall 2022 to study business.

Located on the Jersey Shore, MAST provided Joei with countless opportunities to become a strong environmental advocate. During her internship at Environment America, she worked on several projects including the “Save the Right Whales” and “End Offshore Drilling” campaigns. By getting published in local newspapers and engaging with environmental agencies and legislators, she worked to push several environmental bills including the Right Whales Coexistence Act, a grant program to fund innovative technologies to reduce human impacts on the endangered North Atlantic right whales.

Joei is a two-sport varsity athlete and member of her school’s National Honor Society. She plans on studying criminology and political science on a prelaw track at a university near Washington, D.C.

Ani Nishanian and Namira Meghla, two fifth graders from Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax County, Va., are the talented filmmakers behind this year’s winning video entry. They designed their video to encourage other young people about the growing problem of climate change, the importance of recycling, and what actions people can take in their communities.

Ani has a passion for making the world a better place. She was born in Virginia; her parents are Armenians from Armenia and Iran. Being exposed to diverse cultures helped her evaluate problems from different perspectives and find the best solutions. From her science classes, social media, and trips to her mother’s home country of Armenia, Ani learned how climate change affects the planet and the importance of spreading awareness about recycling and environmental protection.

Namira was born in Alexandra, Va., and her family is from Bangladesh. She loves painting, crafting, and fiction books. With her creative personality, Namira wants to find ways to announce big problems and encourage people to help solve them. This year, her teacher taught her class about the oceans, and specifically the problem dumping plastics in the oceans. She felt that the JASON Learning/ISRI contest was the perfect opportunity to make a change. Namira hopes to continue studying science and using her knowledge to find more ways to help the Earth.

In partnership with JASON Learning, ISRI sponsors the annual video and poster contest for grades K-12 featuring recycling-related themes. ISRI urges all its members to get involved by encouraging youth to participate. Reach out to your local schools, community centers, scouting associations, and other groups, and share the contest on your social media feeds.


Hannah Carvalho

Hannah Carvalho

Hannah Carvalho is the Editorial Director at ReMA. She's interested in a wide range of topics in the recycled materials industry and is always eager to learn more. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in History and a minored in Creative Writing. She lives in Washington, DC with her husband.