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NYC - recycle more, waste less New York City Recycles NYC Department of Sanitation
TrashMasters! Super Recyclers

logo: super recyclers link to golden apple awards info

TrashMasters! Super Recyclers awards cash prizes to NYC Department of Education schools for implementing exemplary school recycling programs in compliance with NYC regulations.

See list of all 2014 Golden Apple Awards contest winners! (pdf) (click on school names to see project descriptions).

The 2014 winners received $10,000 for Citywide Winners; $5,000 for Borough Winners; $2,500 for Borough Runners-Up,  and $1,250 for Honorable Mention — plus $1,000 for Golden Shovel Award winners in each borough. Award levels change year-to-year based on available funding.

contest overview
how to enter
contest entry questions

school recycling activities for students
prior golden apple winners (select year)
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Contest Overview: Show us your school's recycling program!illustration: super recyclers

Winning schools demonstrate model school recycling programs that are in compliance with NYC recycling regulations, and demonstrate a strong commitment from the entire school community, including principals, teachers, custodians, administrative staff, and students.

Recycling Inspection
Finalist schools are inspected by DSNY personnel to evaluate your school’s recycling compliance. Access to all areas indicated in the school recycling program checklist is required.

Resources for Success

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How to Enter

Note: The Contest Coordinator must be a teacher or administrator employed at an NYC DOE school.

Describe and document your exemplary school recycling program.

  1. Compose answers to the contest questions below in your word processing program.
  2. Add explanatory documentation (reduce file sizes as necessary):
    ● photos, illustrations, graphics
    ● memos, letters, flyers, posters, charts, graphs, scripts, lyrics
    ● lesson plans, exemplary samples of student work
  3. Convert your completed document into a pdf (3MB max).
    ● get technical assistance with your online submission
  4. Register and upload your Super Recycler contest entry by Friday, May 1, 2015

Please feel free to contact BWPRR with any questions or problems.

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Super Recyclers Contest Entry Questions

cover page
recycling at our school


Please include the following info on the cover page of your contest entry:


  • School Number
  • Official School Name
  • (School Also Known As)
  • Street Address, City, Zip
  • Phone #, Fax #
  • Principal: Name, Phone, Email
  • Contest Coordinator: Name, Title, Phone, Email
    (must be a teacher or administrator employed at the school)
  • School description — What other relevant information should the Golden Apple Awards judges know about your school community? Include size, location, population, special missions.


  • Borough 
  • Grade Division (Elementary, Intermediate, High School) 
  • Contest Entry Title (10 words or less) 
  • Contest Entry Summary (in one short paragraph) 


  • Student Participation: Core Group #_____
  • Student Participation: Total #_____
  • School Population: Total #_____

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Schools entering the TrashMasters! Super Recyclers contest must document the reasons their school is a "Super Recycler."

Recycling Paper and Cardboard. Describe and include photos showing how your school recycles mixed paper and cardboard in the following areas:

  • classrooms
  • offices
  • teachers cafeterias or lounges
  • kitchen
  • common areas (entrance, hallways, auditorium, gymnasium, etc)

Recycling Metal, Glass, Plastic & Cartons. Describe and include photos showing how your school recycles metal & foil; glass bottles & jars; plastics; milk & juice cartons and drink boxes in the following areas:

  • offices
  • teachers cafeterias or lounges
  • student cafeterias
  • kitchen
  • common areas (entrance, hallways, auditorium, gymnasium, etc)

Recycling Collection and Setout. Briefly describe and include photos showing how your school collects the separated recyclables throughout the building, including storage and setout for DSNY collection. Note: Recyclables must be moved through the building by custodial staff, not by students.

Program Implementation. Briefly describe and document:

  • Before and after. Before you implemented these projects, what was your school recycling program like? What changes and improvements were made?
  • Project planning. Your objectives, and the planning and organization that drove this project.
  • Student involvement. All student efforts to plan and implement your school recycling program. Include activities conducted by classrooms, cluster, grade, school wide, team, club, or afterschool program.
  • Promotion. Efforts to promote this program, such as announcements, memos, flyers, posters, letters, web pages, skits, songs, assembly programs, media coverage, or other special events.
  • Collaboration. Any corroboration with other schools, professionals, businesses, or community organizations on this project. Did you solicit donations or help?
  • Educational components. Include learning standards met, lesson plans, and exemplary samples of student work.

Project Analysis. Briefly describe and document:

  • What worked? What were the most successful aspects of this project?
  • What didn't work? What were the least successful aspects of this project?
  • Applicability to other schools. What advice would you give to other schools with similar populations who want to replicate your project?
  • Measuring success. Describe how you measured the success of your project. Explain any impact on the students or community.
  • Future plans. How would these prize funds be used to further enhance your school recycling program, waste prevention initiatives, or beautification projects?

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golden shovel award logoSCHOOL COMPOSTING PROGRAMS 

Golden Apple Award entries with composting programs* may be entered in the Golden Shovel Award competition for your borough’s Master School Composter, selected by the NYC Compost Project.

To enter, check the box “We Compost” on the Super Recyclers Contest Entry Submission, and include answers to the following questions in your contest entry:

  • Describe your school’s indoor and/or outdoor composting efforts.
  • Describe collaborations with outside organizations.
  • Document compost education efforts; show lesson plans, standards met, and students' work.
  • Explain if and how these composting efforts will be maintained on an ongoing basis.
  • Could your school’s composting efforts be replicated by other schools with similar populations? Please explain.

* Schools participating in the Organics Collection Program should enter this contest. Answer the contest entry questions describing recycling at your school for all designated materials, including food waste. Contestants are inspected by DSNY personnel to evaluate your school’s recycling compliance.

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