Bag Blog

It's a Wrap on Video Contest

TALLAHASSEE, FL (Oct. 5, 2010) —A happy music clip that pairs unlikely best friends and a short news spoof about a worldwide strike averted by treaty have been named grand prize winners in the A Bag’s Life video contest promoting recycling and reuse of free plastic bags in Florida.

Both videos won high marks from judges for their creativity, originality and message in the contest that attracted a wide range of 60-second entries. These included talking totes, funky fashions and homespun ways to repurpose retail plastic bags. Two second and third place prizes also were announced.  And guess what – the younger generation nearly swept the video contest, with high school and college students taking all but one of the prizes.  

In all, more than 8,000 votes were cast online at before judges picked the final winners from the top vote getters in the contest’s two categories of reuse and recycle.

Dan Bakst, a junior at the University of South Florida, won the $1,500 grand prize in the reuse category for his memorable original music video “Bags Are Our Best Friends,” in which his unusual sidekick is happy to play catch and watch TV, but also is there to pick up after the dog and to line a trashcan. The plastic bag recycling grand prize went to Matt Duncan, a junior at Daytona State, for “Plastic Bag Strike,” a TV “news” report that ends with a global responsibility treaty signed by a left-handed bag.

“We were thrilled with the entries, but were particularly excited that the contest piqued the interest of so many young adults,” said Lauren McCarthy of the Florida Recycling Partnership, a key sponsor of the A Bag’s Life awareness campaign. “Our winners showed us that kids today are thinking about the importance of reducing litter and can come up with some humorous and innovative ways to express their point.”

The panel of judges included three Emmy award-winning filmmakers, all from Tallahassee where the A Bag’s Life contest and campaign were launched.  The contest kicked off during an Earth Day celebration on the steps of Florida’s capital with the help of Gov. Charlie Crist, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Retail Federation.

Following is a list of all the winners:

Reuse Category

  • First place, $1,500. Dan Bakst, a junior at USF for “Bags Are Our Best Friends.”
  • Second place, $500. Allison Tate-Cortese, a senior at Winter Springs High School, for “Meet the Baggins,” about a family that reuses their plastic bags for everything from aprons to shoes to slipcovers.
  • Third place, $250. Neal Shepherd, a student at Matanzas High in Palm Coast, for “Recycling 101” about a plastic bag that sneaks into a backpack and takes life into its own “handles.”

Recycle Category

  • First place, $1,500. Matt Duncan, a junior at Daytona State, for “Plastic Bag Strike.”
  • Second place, $500. The father-son team of Banks and Halsey Helfrich, of Orlando, for “Or” in which bags are either used creatively or deposited into a recycling bin for a second life.
  • Third place, $250. Layla Warren, a senior at Seminole High School in Sanford, for “Down in the Dumps” about a tearful bag who feels she’s been used while others are being recycled.


All of the winning videos can be seen on the A Bag’s Life website.

About A Bag's Life

A Bag’s Life is Florida’s awareness campaign to encourage reduce, recycle and reuse of free plastic bags and materials like dry cleaning and bread bags, and the wraps on items like paper towels or cases of bottled water. It includes an interactive website ( and app with 1,700 plastic bag recyclingdrop-off sites located by zip code. Demonstrating what public and private groups can accomplish by working together, A Bag’s Life is a cooperative effort of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, Florida Recycling Partnership, Florida Retail Federation, Recycle Florida Today and the Progressive Bag Affiliates of the American Chemistry Council.

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