Hey, what’s the Story of Your Stuff? EPA invites second-level students to consider the environmental impact of everyday items and consumption decision

Date released: January 16, 2020


The young people who influence the trends of today will be the decision-makers of tomorrow and are encouraged to consider how their everyday decisions can have a positive impact on the environment – and the world. That’s according to Dr Jonathan Derham, EPA Programme Manager, launching The Story of Your Stuff , an EPA competition aimed at secondary school students, which seeks to empower young people to make environmentally conscious decisions about their ‘stuff’ and everyday activities.

Now in its fourth year, the competition brings together curiosity, creativity and science, and aims to get young people thinking about sustainability, climate action and environmental protection, and to spread the word among their friends and family. Entrants are tasked with highlighting the environmental impact of an everyday item or activity by creatively telling its story through a visual medium.

Entrants to the competition will be in with a chance to win €500 for themselves and €500 for their school, while a new ‘Climate Topic Prize’ will be awarded to the entry that best addresses key climate considerations, such as carbon footprint, greenhouse gas emissions or climate action.

Speaking at the launch, Dr Derham said:

“Many young people are deeply concerned about the climate and environmental emergency now facing us worldwide, something that has been well flagged by evidence from scientists, including the EPA. Urgent transformational change is now required to meet these challenges, based on what the evidence is telling us. The EPA is calling on second-level students to enter The Story of Your Stuff competition and to use their artistic talents to create stories to inspire others to make low carbon and environmentally conscious consumption choices.” 

Last year’s winners were Shurooq Azam, Aldiana Hoxha, Kar Gong Leong and Tomi Ayibiowu from Hansfield Educate Together Secondary School, Dublin 15, who made a video on the story of a toothbrush.

Colette Ryan of the EPA said:

“The Story of Your Stuff competition gets people thinking, talking and making changes and identifying ways in which they can become responsible consumers. The competition is a real highlight in the EPA calendar and a testament to the students who take the time to explore the story of their stuff and to the teachers who guide them. We look forward to seeing the projects from this year’s entrants.”

Competition guidelines and tips are available at http://thestoryofyourstuff.ie. The deadline for entries is Monday, 9th March 2020.


Niamh Hatchell / Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office, Tel: 053 9170770, Email: media@epa.ie.

Note to Editors:

Spokespersons from the EPA are available on request. 
Photographer Marc O’Sullivan will issue photos from the launch photocall to photodesks today. 
An informational video for The Story of Your Stuff 2020 is available to watch here.

About ‘The Story of Your Stuff’:

‘The Story of Your Stuff’ is a nationwide competition for secondary school students run by the EPA. The competition challenges students to investigate the life cycle of their everyday ‘stuff’ through a creative medium, considering the entirety of the item’s life cycle. The EPA’s Ireland’s Environment website has a range of resources to assist students’ research. Visit http://thestoryofyourstuff.ie for competition guidelines and tips, and follow The Story of Your Stuff on Instagram @storyofyourstuff.

The top five shortlisted entrants, their classmates and their teacher will be invited to a showcase finale event in UCD in early April, where, as well as seeing the work of the other finalists, they’ll also delve in to the world of science through workshops with students and staff of the college’s science faculty, and hear from The Story of Your Stuff Ambassador , before the winning project is announced.

Entrants are encouraged to use the resources of the EPA website, particularly the EPA’s Ireland’s Environment web resource to assist them in their research.  The site offers easily accessible information about local environment, environmental indicators, reports and research on topics such as climate change, water, air, biodiversity and waste management.