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About the challenge

We’re excited to announce that the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge is back for 2020! Since 2016, over 750,000  students across Canada have taken action to reduce plastic waste in their school communities while collecting more than 65 metric tonnes of single use plastic bags for recycling. Celebrating its fifth year anniversary, the program will continue to focus on reduce and reuse – the most important step in the 3Rs hierarchy. As such, the challenge will reward schools that encourage and promote ideas and solutions that result in reducing how many bags are used and wasted in their communities.
During Earth Month, schools are challenged to learn and take action on plastics waste by reducing their use, while collecting discarded plastic bags (that cannot be reused) for recycling in their schools and beyond. The Plastic Bag Grab challenge is an environmental awareness program that engages schools and students on the 3Rs hierarchy: reduce, reuse, and recycle and can be incorporated into existing curriculum.

What's new for 2020?

To celebrate the program's fifth year anniversary, we're excited to go Beyond the Bag!
Recycling Council of Ontario and Canadian Geographic have partnered to bring Canadians the 10,000 Changes program. This unique campaign was created to drive meaningful reductions in plastic use, production and waste.
Education is a key initiative of 10,000 Changes, and offers a series of learning packages that can be adapted to any grade level (K-12). Schools are encouraged to kick-off the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge by utilizing these learning packages and incorporate them into their community engagement efforts for the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge.

What if my school is not interested or able to collect plastic bags for recycling?

No problem! Collecting bags is not a requirement to participate. Schools can still take part and be eligible for community engagement and social media prizes (registration is still required). Visit for ideas to involve your school and community on reduction of single-use plastics!

How it works

2020 Dates

Registration closes: Friday, April 3 (5 p.m. EST)

Bag collection: Monday, April 6 – Friday, April 17 

Bag drop off: Monday, April 20 – Friday, April 24

Final Results & Community Engagement/Social Media Submission Deadline: May 8

Winners announced: early June 2020

Plastic Bag Grab Challenge Winners

Is your school a past winner of the Plastic Bag Grab Challenge? We’d love to hear what your school has done with your prize. If you have photos of the initiatives developed using your prize that be shared on our website and social media, please send them to

Riverside Elementary School water bottle refill station

About Recycling Council of Ontario

Recycling Council of Ontario

The Plastic Bag Grab challenge is a program of Recycling Council of Ontario (RCO) is a not-for-profit membership-based organization committed to minimizing society's impact on the environment by eliminating waste. RCO's mission is to inform and educate all members of society about the avoidance of waste, efficient use of resources, and the benefits and/or consequences of these activities.

Since 1978 our commitment to Reduce,Reuse, Recycling has driven our actions, and is the bedrock of our efforts to help facilitate the efficient use of resources and transition the economy from a linear to circular model where post-consumed materials are integrated back into use and production cycles. We also have a long history of designing and executing high profile school campaigns and public events that showcase the 3Rs into learning opportunities and action.