Pactiv Evergreen and KidsGardening Announce 2020 Carton 2 Garden Contest Winners

Pactiv Evergreen, a global leader in fiber-based packaging solutions, together with KidsGardening, a national nonprofit creating opportunities for kids to garden, today announced the winners of the 2020 Carton 2 Garden™ contest. The contest promotes life skills such as creativity, leadership and teamwork by inviting students to work together to build or enhance their school gardens with repurposed milk and juice cartons. Prizes valued at $23,000 are being awarded to 15 schools around the country for their carton garden creations.

The winner categories include a $5,000 grand prize, four $2,000 specialty prizes, and ten $1,000 grade level prizes. The four specialty prize winners are awarded for efforts in these categories: STEM, best incorporation of science, technology, engineering and math learning in their project; Environmental Stewardship, the best demonstration of sustainable practices and environmental awareness in their garden creation; Health and Nutrition Education, the best incorporation of lessons on healthy eating and lifestyle behaviors in their project; and Carton Art in the Garden, the best display of garden-inspired carton art in a garden creation.

The Carton 2 Garden student competitions started in 2015. Participants have come from 46 different states. Since its launch, nearly 1,000 project entries have been judged and more than 76,000 students have participated. The result is that nearly 392,000 cartons have been repurposed.

“This year, like each of the five prior years, the students across the country demonstrated remarkable levels of creativity and thinking for their projects,” said Katie Simmons, marketing director for Pactiv Evergreen. “Whether they are kindergarten students working on perhaps their first group projects as students or high school students with years of project experience, they each embrace the ideas of eco-friendly packaging and practices, and the impact on their environment. These children and young adults are role models for environmental stewardship in their communities, neighborhoods and schools.”

The grand prize and specialty prize winners of the contest are as follows:
  • Grand Prize Winner – Thomaston Grammar School (Thomaston, ME): The students at Thomaston Grammar used their cartons for a diverse array of garden projects. They launched a carton-based hydroponic garden to grow edibles including lettuce, spinach and herbs. They made bee hotels for their new orchard. They crafted baskets to help with storage of garden supplies, and they used individual cartons to build a giant milk carton to use as a collection bin for recyclables in their cafeteria. To watch a video of the project, click here.
  • STEM Winner – New Mountain Hill Elementary (Fortson, GA): A multi-grade level entry, all the students at new Mountain Hill Elementary worked closely together to plan, construct and plant a new pollinator garden that was shaped like a beehive. Students explored the many ways pollinators are important in our world and our food systems. To watch a video of this project, called “The Hive,” click here.
  • Environmental Stewardship Award Winner – Lucy T. Davis Elementary School (Florence, SC): Students at Lucy Davis Elementary completed an intensive study of bees and the importance of pollinators in our environment. They created their own “Air Bee N Bee” which will be part of a bee friendly habitat and native plant garden. To watch a video of this project, called “The Buzz about Bees,” click here.
  • Health and Nutrition Education Winner – Virgil Mills Elementary (Ellenton, FL): The kindergarten class at Virgil Mills Elementary combined their garden activities with mindfulness lessons to teach students how to “Be Brave, Be Patient, Be Focused and Be Positive.” Incorporating a focus on emotional, mental and physical health students learned that just like the plants in their garden, they were “Born to Blossom.” To watch a video of the project, click here.
  • Carton Art in the Garden Winner – Dunham Elementary School (Petaluma, CA): Students at Dunham Elementary created an expansive carton-based mosaic spotlighting pollinators along with an educational display to bring attention to the importance of pollinators with students and their community. To watch a video of this project, called “Pollinator Power,” click here.

Each entry is judged on specific criteria, including creativity, incorporation of sustainable materials and visual representation. Classroom groups were required to repurpose at least 100 cartons of any size in their creation, including cartons from the school cafeteria or from home. All entries were judged by the education specialists at KidsGardening.

“The truth is, it was a difficult year for teachers and students alike and we weren’t sure whether many schools would be able to participate in this contest.” says Em Shipman, executive director of KidsGardening. “But we saw folks come through in a way unlike ever before. The ingenuity and passion these teams put into their projects was astounding. Participating in Carton 2 Garden allowed them to be a part of a meaningful community-focused project at a time when we’re all feeling a bit off-balance and distant.”

Ten additional schools from across the country were recognized for their carton garden creations:

Elementary School Winners (K-5)

  • C.P. Smith Elementary School’s “Burlington School District Child Care Program” – Burlington, VT
  • North Beach Elementary School’s “’Bee’ the Solution” – Miami Beach, FL
  • North Elementary School’s “The Pyramids of Basil” – Morgantown, WV
  • Pelican Island Elementary’s “Pelican Island Elementary is Growing Peaceful, Loving and Environmentally Conscious People and Flower Power for the Butterfly Garden!” – Sebastian, FL
  • R. M. Miano Elementary’s “Sunrise Nursery” – Los Banos, CA

Middle/High School Winners (6-12)

  • Denham Springs High School’s “DSHS R.E.A.C.H Club” – Denham Springs, LA
  • Eslie J. Parquette School at Sweetser’s “Ricker Farm to the Community!” – Saco, ME
  • New Palestine Intermediate School’s “Go Green Club: Flower Power Catchment System” – New Palestine, IN
  • >Saint Mary’s Catholic School’s “Carton 2 Garden Project” – Richmond, VA
  • Teague Middle School’s “TMS Gardening Project” – Altamonte Springs, FL

For more information about the Carton 2 Garden contest, please visit

About Pactiv Evergreen
Pactiv Evergreen, a global leader in paper packaging solutions, makes paper and paperboard products from responsibly sourced fiber which are designed to deliver product freshness, brand distinction and supply chain confidence. Our products are manufactured globally in facilities in the US, Asia, Central America and the Middle East/North Africa. Fiber used in our products comes from forests in the US where responsible forestry practices are used and where overall growth exceeds harvest.

KidsGardening, founded in 1982, is a national nonprofit organization known for creating opportunities for kids to learn and grow through gardening. They provide grants and original educational materials to more than 2.6 million kids across the country. In 2021 they will launch The Kids Garden Community. The Community will provide a free, central location for direct learning and networking for anyone gardening with children.

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