Return-It School Story Contest – 3 Months Left to Win up to $5000!

March 19, 2024

By now, we have over 200 schools registered in the 2023/2024 school year School Program and are starting to receive our first few submissions for this year’s Story Contest.

What is the Story Contest

For this unfamiliar with our Story Contest, this is an annual contest that’s open to all Return-It School registrants. All schools need to do is share with us a short essay on what your class/school did during this school year to promote the recycling of beverage containers by May 31, 2024. Keep your story to a maximum of 3 pages long, written in no smaller than 11-point font and approximately 750 words, plus photos in any layout you wish.

Note: If you haven’t begun your beverage container recycling project yet, it’s still not too late! You can sign up for our program to receive up to 3 free recycling bins, and begin reaping the rewards, which includes entry to this contest, teaching resources, and more.

Your essay will be graded on the information that is included, with 3 mandatory details that need to be included, which are:

  • the total # of refundable beverage containers collected,
  • the total deposit refund collected, and
  • the name of the Return-It depot location used for your recycling project/program

Beyond this information, we also want to know all about the objectives and goals of your recycling program, how you measured the success of your program, and the impact of your program. How many students were involved? Were there any staff or students who led your recycling program? How did you promote your program within your class or school? What was the impact on your school and community?

Don’t forget to include other creative details, such as photos (these are a must!), what your school plans on doing with the money raised, how this program educated your class or school on the importance of recycling beverage containers, and anything else you can think of. You can read about the full criteria and contest rules on our website.

Submission and Prize Money

To submit your entry, registered schools simply need to go to, and click on the “Submit Story” button. Here, you’ll be prompted to select your school and upload the pdf version of their essay entry.

Once all submissions are in, our team will score all the essays and pick 4 winners: one first place and one second place winner in the elementary school category, and one first place and one second place winner in the secondary school category. Winners will be announced before the end of the school year.

If you’re registered in our Return-It School Program, you're already raising funds by receiving your deposit refund on each beverage container that gets returned to the depot. With our Story Contest, you can win thousands of dollars more with one easy essay submission – don't forget to send it in! We can’t wait to read everyone’s submissions.

For inspiration on how to write your essay, you can read through our previous blog posts on past winners to see what kinds of details they included in their submissions.

Keep an eye out for reminder emails in your inbox and remember to submit your essay by May 31, 2024. Happy recycling!