Competition - The Story of Your Stuff for 2021 - The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Video examining the life cycle of soap claims top prize in the EPA's The Story of Your Stuff 2020 competition.

A video that creatively examines the environmental life cycle of soap has won this year's Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) 'The Story of Your Stuff' competition.
The project, entered by Caoimhe Higgins and Katherine Mooney from St Andrew's College in Booterstown, Dublin, looks at the history of soap manufacture, the effect of soap and its plastic packaging on the environment, and highlights natural and locally made bars of soap as an alternative for consumers to consider. Ms Higgins and Ms Mooney have won the top prize of €500, along with €500 for the school.

the life cycle of soap

Launch The Story of Your Stuff 2020, UCD Earth Institute - Professor Emma Teeling, Deputy Director, UCD Earth Institute, Aldiana Hoxha,Tomi Ayibiowu and Shurooq Azam from Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School (2019 winners - The Story of Your Stuff), Dr. Jonathan Derham, Programme Manager, Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) 2021 Competition

has launched its competition The Story of Your Stuff for 2021 and is calling on second-level students from across the country to use their creative talents to trace the life cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’ - an object or an activity - using a visual medium. Now in its fifth year, the competition highlights sustainability, climate action and environmental protection.

The competition requires students to first investigate their ‘stuff’ and entrants are encouraged to use the EPA website for example, particularly Ireland’s Environment the recently published EPA state of environment report, Ireland’s Environment: An Integrated Assessment 2020 to assist with their research. A purpose-built EPA online hub at also contains all the information teachers and students will need to be inspired and submit entries.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

Students will then tell the environmental story of their ‘stuff’ visually through a creative medium of their choice (including video, animation, infographics, photography), considering the entirety of its life cycle. Examples could include a pencil or a plastic bottle or their journey to school.

Reflecting that our earth’s resources are finite, it’s vital that we all consciously consider our consumption choices. The Story of Your Stuff competition empowers students to make environmentally conscious decisions about their ‘stuff’ and everyday choices, and to share the message among friends and family.

• Entrants to the competition will be in with a chance to win €500 for themselves + €500 for their school.
• The EPA will award a ‘climate topic prize’ to the entry that best addresses and incorporates, in detail, climate considerations when telling its story.
• Following a year-on-year increase in the number of entries received in the Irish language, a new additional prize will also be awarded to the best entry submitted through Irish.
• Finalists will have their projects showcased at a prestigious national finale event where they will have the opportunity to hear from competition Ambassador Dr. Norah Patten, aeronautical engineer, citizen scientist-astronaut candidate. This is likely to be a virtual event depending on any restrictions that may be in place at the time.
• The winning entries will be showcased for all to see on and published and publicised nationally by the EPA.
• Terms and Conditions (competition Rules) apply see

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

2019 competition winner at the launch of The Story of Your Stuff for 2020 (January 2020): Shurooq Azam & Aldiana Hoxha, from Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School, Dublin 15, who, together with their classmates, Kar Gong Leong and Tomi Ayibiowu made their winning video on the story of a toothbrush.

Students - Taking part is easy!
• Pick an everyday object or activity, research it - consulting EPA resources and other good sources of information / research - then tell its life story through a creative medium of your choice.
• Consider what your ‘stuff’ is made of, how it’s made, emissions associated with it, where it could potentially end up when it is no longer of use or what could become of it when its recycled properly.
• Alternatively, consider the impact an everyday activity you undertake has on the environment e.g. look at your travel choice and its links to the environment.
• Entries will be judged across five criteria: 1) Creativity, 2) Originality, 3) Clarity of message, 4) Quality and 5) Details to show the background research carried out on the topic, references for the source of the facts/information used.
• Have your teacher submit your entry by 8 March 2021, ensuring parental/guardian permissions’ slips for all entrants are in place prior to entry (see Rules ).
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