Plastic bottles and bags, take-out containers, cigarette butts, microplastics, and other single-use plastics are accumulating in our aquatic environments at alarming rates, resulting in negative ecological, economic, and human health impacts. To stem this mounting tide, source reduction in the form of habitual change is needed, where reusables such as cloth bags are chosen over their single-use counterparts.

Use your artistic talents to help us convey this message and compete to win a cash prize!

Contest Details

Students from NYS colleges and universities will compete in a statewide contest by creating works of art that illuminate the issue of water pollution caused by single-use plastics, and/or that inspire the use of sustainable alternatives. Participants will learn more about the issue of plastic water pollution, as well as contest details, through a mandatory webinar held at the end of June 2017.

Completed art pieces will be judged at the end of September 2017, and the first and second place winners will be awarded $500 and $300, respectively. All participants will also have the opportunity to display their artwork at a special gallery event tentatively scheduled for the second week of November 2017 in Cooperstown, NY. The gallery event will be a professional networking event heavily attended by sustainable materials management professionals from across NYS. Learn more about this initiative at
Submission Requirements

  • Visual, audio and written formats accepted (e.g., painting, poetry, sculpture, music, video, etc.)
  • Subject matter focus on water, single-use plastic items, pollution, and/or reusable options
  • Completed art piece submitted by September 22nd, 2017

To enter the contest, please like the Facebook page @PlasticFreeH2OinNYS and email a brief project proposal to SU-EFC Project Assistant, Jesse Kerns, at


Funding provided by the Environmental Protection Fund as administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. 

Any opinions, findings, and/or interpretations of data contained herein are the responsibility of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions, interpretations or policy of Rochester Institute of Technology and its NYS Pollution Prevention Institute or the State.