EPA:Our Planet, Our Stuff, Our Choice Video Competition

Our Planet, Our Stuff, Our Choice Video Contest - "And we all make decisions about our stuff every day."
Submit Your Video
Submit your video response on or before February 16, 2010 to our promotional video on EPA’s YouTube contest site Exit EPA. You can also view submitted videos on this site.
  • 1st prize - $2500
  • 2nd prize - $1500
  • 3rd prize - $1000
  • 2 Student Winners (13-18 years old) - $500 each
Key Dates
  • Competition begins: December 16, 2009
  • Last day to submit entries: February 16, 2010
  • Winners announced: April 2010

The stuff you use every day affects your environment, your community, and your planet. EPA is sponsoring a video competition to raise awareness of the connection between the environment and the "stuff" people use, consume, recycle, and throw away. We need your help in creating videos that will inspire community involvement, spread information and lead to action. Your passion, your creativity, and your ideas can make a difference. After all, it's our stuff, our planet, our choice.

How to Enter

  • Review the contest rules and eligibility requirements before you begin so your video meets the criteria.

  • Make a 30 or 60 second video that reflects the theme of the competition—individual action in your community—by showing what you're doing to manage your "stuff." Focus your topic on one or more of the following areas:
    • Reducing/reusing
    • Recycling
    • Composting
    • Consumption and environmental footprint
    • Videos can be funny or serious, as long as they focus on the contest themes.

  • Make sure your video ends by displaying EPA's Web address – www.epa.gov/recycle – for at least three seconds.

Contest Theme and Resources

Our theme for the video competition is "Individual Action in your Community." We are looking for videos that reflect the theme and are based on one or more of these topics that are critical to managing our "stuff:"

To help you get started, we have listed some information and resources for each focus area.

Reducing and reusing includes consuming less, designing products to last longer or use less material, and reusing and repairing products.

  • Why is it important to reduce and reuse?
    • It is the single most effective way of reducing environmental impacts associated with acquiring goods and disposing of waste.
  • Fast facts
    • Between 1960 and 2008 the amount of waste each person creates has almost doubled from 2.7 to 4.5 pounds per day.
    • Source reduction, including reuse, can help reduce waste disposal and handling costs, because it avoids the costs of recycling, municipal composting, landfilling, and combustion.
    • Since 1977, the weight of 2-liter plastic soft drink bottles has been reduced from 68 grams each to 51 grams. That means that 250 million pounds of plastic per year has been kept out of the waste stream.
  • For more information visit:

Recycling turns materials that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources. By recycling, materials can have many more lives as new products.

  • Why Recycle?
    • Recycling prevents resource use and other environmental problems caused by the manufacturing of products from virgin materials, including:
      • Climate change
      • Energy usage
      • Pollution
      • Water Usage
      • Ecosystem Destruction
    • Recycling creates jobs in the US
    • Recycling reduces the harmful effects of landfilling and incineration
  • Fast Facts:
    • In 2008, America recycled 83 million tons of the 250 million tons of trash generated –a recycling rate of 33%.
    • Recycling one milk jug saves the same amount of energy it would take to run your laptop for over 9 hours.
    • Recycling and reuse employs approximately 1.1 million people, generates an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, and grosses over $236 billion in annual revenues. - Recycling is Working in the United States (PDF) (2 pp, 65K, about PDF)
  • For more information visit:

Composting is a natural process where waste organic materials (like food and yard waste) are decomposed by microorganisms. The resulting material makes an excellent natural fertilizer.

  • Why is composting important?
    • Organic materials in the landfill decompose to create methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
    • By putting food waste into a landfill, we are wasting valuable resources. When properly processed, food scraps and yard trimmings can enhance the soil as a natural fertilizer. This can create healthier soil and reduce the need for synthetic fertilizers.
  • Fast facts:
    • Food waste is the second largest portion of the municipal solid waste stream currently reaching landfills in the U.S. It accounts for 19% of disposed waste.
    • Over 30 million tons of food waste is sent to landfills or incinerated each year.
    • Less than 3% of food waste is currently composted in the United States.
  • For more information visit Composting.

Consumption and environmental footprint – The products we use and the food we consume have their own environmental footprints due to manufacturing and transportation. The more we consume, the larger our own environmental footprints.

  • Why is it important to reduce my environmental footprint?
    • Simple choices, such as using less and recycling more, can directly impact climate change and other environmental issues like water quality, land use, transportation emissions, and the release of toxic materials into the environment.
  • Fast Facts:
    • Reducing the amount of material that is needed has the largest potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Consumption in the US is going up – from 1980 to 2008 US waste generation went up from 3.66 to 4.50 pounds per person per day. (add hotlink to MSW facts and figures for this bullet: http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2008rpt.pdf)
    • By recycling paper, not only are greenhouse gas emissions avoided from decreased extraction and manufacturing, but fewer trees are cut down, increasing carbon forest sequestration.
  • For more information visit:

Rules and Eligibility

  • You must be a US citizen or legal resident to enter and win. EPA employees, contractors, or grantees and their immediate family members may post their videos, but are not eligible to win.

  • Videos must be 30 or 60 seconds in length.

  • Videos must not contain violence, profanity, sex, or direct attacks on individuals or organizations.

  • The video must be your own original creation. No copyrighted music, video, or images may be used in the video.

  • Videos must not infringe on any third party rights.

  • Videos must not have been produced for compensation or posted on any EPA Web page.

  • Videos must be accompanied by a video release form (included in the contest entry form).

  • Entrants must complete a contest entry form. This form must provide valid contact information.

  • Winners must provide a copy of the original video file to EPA to receive an award.

  • By submitting a video to this contest, you grant to EPA a royalty-free license to copy, distribute, modify, display and perform publicly and otherwise use, and authorize others to use, your video for any educational purpose throughout the world and in any media.

  • EPA reserves the right to make your video available to the general public from its Web site and to distribute it to groups and any other organizations interested in showing it for educational purposes, including, but not limited to, on Internet sites, at conferences and events, on television, and other media outlets.

  • EPA will disqualify any entries it deems to contain offensive material.

  • Entries must be received or postmarked by February 16, 2010. Winners will be notified via e-mail and announced on the contest Web site in April.

  • Entrants must agree to these terms and conditions, or the agreement of a legal guardian must be obtained if the entrant is a minor.

  • EPA reserves the right to not select a winner if none of the entries received are judged to be high quality based on the Rules and Eligibility.

  • Please don't use the EPA seal or logo.

If your video follows the rules and meets the eligibility criteria above, it will be judged by a panel based on creativity, originality, message content, relation to this year's theme, and video/audio quality.

Frequent Questions

What constitutes "immediate family?"

"Immediate family members" shall include spouses, siblings, parents, children, grandparents, and grandchildren, whether as "in-laws", or by current or past marriage, remarriage, adoption, co-habitation or other familial extension, and any other persons residing at the same household location, whether or not related.

Can videos be submitted that have already been released to news organizations and other groups?

Yes, although we seek to have the development of new videos, the rules exclude videos that have been previously been published for compensation, ones that are already featured in the EPA Web Pages or any video that would infringe on third party rights. All videos, regardless of when published, must meet all the criteria required to be eligible (i.e. length, ending with www.epa.gov/recycle).

Are EPA employees, contractors, or grantees allowed to assist in the development of the videos (i.e. provide narration, man the camera, act in the video etc.)?

No, to avoid any legal repercussions any video in which EPA employees, contractors or grantees assist will not be eligible to win.

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