'Rethink Waste' Challenge

An Upcycling challenge for PMH kids and youth
Competition now closed.

Help us send less to landfill by giving old resources a new life!

Upcycle (verb) Take a used object / material and adapt it in an innovative way to create a new function.


“I built a play mud kitchen. I used an old kitchen sink and pallets we found on the side of the road. We then made shelves and a stove top from the left over timber from the pallet. All of these materials would’ve otherwise gone to landfill. We’ve placed it in our garden near a water tank so we use recycled water which then gets collected to water the plants. My younger brothers and I love making mud pies in our new kitchen.”

Liam received a $50 Bookface voucher for his winning entry. Keep an eye out in the new year for a new post over on BlogEd where we’ll share how his school, Hastings Public School, will be using their ‘Zero Waste’ recycling prize!

The Challenge:
To take material/s that might otherwise be destined for the bin and come up with a new way to use them, giving them a second life! Scroll down to learn how to enter and how your design will be judged.

Open to:
5 – 18 yr olds living in the Port Macquarie-Hastings region.

Teachers! Help get your students on board with these tools and resources:

To enter you will need:

Safety first! It’s ok to ask for help.
While your design idea should be your own, you’re allowed to get help in making your design, taking photos, and submitting your entry. Check in with an adult before you start your design so they can help you make it safely!

Warm up your creativity!

Get into the upcycling spirit with this fast and fun upcycled paper pocket!

Play Video

Judging Criteria:

Our panel will be judging entries based on 4 main criteria:

Your design must be created from materials (used products, items, packaging etc) that are already used for their original purpose and no longer needed.

You should avoid buying anything new to create your design.

Your design should have a clear purpose, function or use.

Your design should make best use of the resources / materials you use, to keep them out of landfill as long as possible or, even better, that they can still be recycled once your upcycled item is no longer wanted or useful.


We’re not talking glitter and paint-style “artistry” here (that would likely make your design score lower in the sustainability criteria!).

This criterion focuses on how creative your idea is, not how pretty your end design is.

Remember, sometimes the simplest of ideas are the most creative!

Great prizes up for grabs!

The winner from each category will receive:

  • Certificate of achievement
  • $50 local book store voucher
  • Prepaid Terracycle Zero Waste box for winner’s school* (valued at up to $500)
  • Recognition and design on digital display via ConnectEd PMH

The runner up from each category will receive:

  • Certificate of achievement
  • $25 local bookstore voucher
  • Recognition and design on digital display via ConnectEd PMH

* Winner’s school will be able to choose from a pre-selected range of Terracycle waste boxes. If winner does not attend a local school, they will be given the option to choose a box suitable for home use or work with Council’s Education team to choose a local school or organisation to award the box to.

What is a Terracycle Zero Waste box?
Terracycle are playing an amazing role in helping Australia send less to landfill, through their range of pre-paid boxes that you can fill with items that can be recycled but can’t go in your household recycling bin. Purchase your choice of box, fill it up, post it back and they recycle your waste!

Inspiration Gallery

Rethinking Waste with Rhi Video Series

We asked Rhi, Sustainability Educator and Founder of Rhi Rebellion, to share her top tips on upcycling common recyclable items.

Upcycling Design Image Gallery

Booking Enquiry Form

Please complete the form below and our education team will touch base soon to discuss your enquiry.