Devon County Council is running a short story competition of up to 500 words for young people on January 24th, 2024. Entries will be accepted from any child aged between 7 and 14 and is a resident in Devon (not Torbay or Plymouth). Stories should be about the subject of rubbish and waste, such as reducing waste, composting, reusing, or recycling.

The competition will be open for entries from January 24th up to the closing date of 28th March. There will be two categories (KS2 and KS3). Stories can be submitted either by post to the Waste Education Officer at Devon County Council or emailed to

The winners will be decided by a panel of expert judges in April-May 2024. The top prize will be a £50 book token, promotion on social media, a Recycle Devon goody bag and the possibility of having the story read out in a reading group at a library. Runners’ up prizes will be a £10 book token and a Recycle Devon goody bag.

Inspiration for writers

Micheal Morpurgo and ‘Andy’ from Usborne Publishing give advice on how to write good short stories.

One aspect both speakers advise is that writers will ‘make mistakes’ especially in their first draft. It’s important to ‘just get started’.

Michael Morpurgo suggests imagining yourself in the story and ‘talk the story’, thinking of ideas that bring emotion to you, perhaps something you are passionate about.

Michael Morpurgo: How to write great stories | BBC Teach (

Creative writing tips for kids (

Ideas for writing from two books.

The Bonster the Monster book (Click here to read the book)

  1. Using a character: Imagine yourself as Bonster the Hungry Monster. You are trying to build a rocket. However, all the resources on your planet have run out. Are you going to go to lemonade land to find lemon aid bottles to reuse and build a rocket? Or are you going to go to foodie ville and buy a food waste burger made with rotten apples as you’re hungry?
  1. Creating a new character: Bonster the Hungry Monster is in trouble. His family have come to visit but they’ve crashed on the moon! However, they’re in luck, a hero is here. Captain Creator! The hero that creates life through the fallen leaves of Autumn or the natural waste of the Earth. What will Captain Creator create to help Bonster’s family get down to Earth?
Bonster the monster eating food waste on his alien planet.

Using an A.I story: Operation Green Shift: A Tale of Youthful Eco-Enthusiasm (Click here to read the story)

  1. Using a character: Imagine you are Dr. Dumptron. You have been defeated by the Eco Guardian. You lay in your lonely flat reflecting and thinking. You decide to turn a new leaf. You want to be admired just like Eco Guardian. So, you decide to show the world how Dr. Dumptron can be an Eco Warrior redeemed!
  1. Creating a character: Imagine you are Eco Guardian’s sidekick Eco Spectacular. Eco Guardian is facing off Dr. Dumptron. However, the Dr has minions of waste. They like to make sure everyone uses the not very compostable cups. Are you going to let that happen or are you going to get your Reuse Cup belt and take the fight to them?

Extra resources

    1. The British council have a story creator game linked on their website. It is not related to waste but it’s a fun way to inspire the children. Story Maker 1 | LearnEnglish Kids (
An eco-superwoman and an eco superman. Both are in green superhero outfits.

Lesson plans (Click on the images to enlarge)

Story: Bonster the Hungry Monster

Devised and Written by Carol Arthur, Joanna O’Callaghan, Alex Mack & Demelza Annison. Illustrations by Andy Council, his website is linked here Home | Andy Council. Design by Sally Scholefield.

Bonster was bored and HUNGRY, he was
sitting with his friends on a planet called
LeftOverLand, with nothing to do and
nothing to eat

LeftOverLand used to be a wonderful place
to live. The monsters living there were never
hungry – they could snack on old teabags,
scoff chunks of stale old bread and wolf
down potato peelings and gobble up coffee

But things had changed, leftovers were
running out and sometimes they had to eat
horrible ordinary food like cake and biscuits.
They had no choice – one of the monsters
had to go in search of a planet with more
wasted food and Bonster was chosen

Bonster was going to travel in a space rocket,
which looked a bit like an old tin can.

He only had a few days’ supply of food –
some lettuce leaves, apple cores and mouldy
cheese. He climbed nervously on board.
As the rocket took off, he closed his yellow
eyes and hoped for the best…
went the rocket, up and up until Bonster
could no longer see LeftOverLand.
After a long and bumpy ride the rocket
began to go slower and slower until…
His rocket crashed into something and
It was so dark, where was he?

Luckily Bonster’s landing had been soft
and he wasn’t hurt. He squeezed out of
the rocket and could feel squishy stuff
underneath him.
Bonster reached above him and he could feel
something solid which he pushed against. It
opened and his eyes were nearly blinded by
the sunlight.
He peeped out – oohh it was beautiful – he
saw green trees and an amazing blue sea in
the distance. They only had sludgy brown
seas in LeftOverLand and spiky black trees.
Then he realised he had landed inside a
black wheelie bin! He jumped down to the
ground and started to wander up the road.

As he wandered along, Bonster saw different
types of bins and boxes which he peered
into. Some had shiny black bags inside –
BORING! Some had glass jars and plastic
bottles and newspapers inside – BORING!
Then he spotted a smaller bin which, to his
delight, had his FAVOURITE food inside.
He couldn’t believe it! There were eggshells,
fish skins, carrot peelings, and stale bread
crusts. He ate them ALL up – yum yum yum!
BUT, afterwards he was still hungry.

“Wouldn’t you prefer nice fresh food
to eat?” Olivia asked. “NOOOOO“ growled
Bonster, “I don’t want any of that new stuff,
I want mouldy old food please.”
He turned and saw a girl and boy looking at
him in surprise. “Hello, my name’s Bonster,”
he called out. “Have you got any old food
to eat? I’m super hungry.” The girl stepped
forward, ”Hello. My name’s Olivia and this
is Noah,” she said.

“Come with us!” said Noah. They went to
their house to look for some Bonster food.
Dad was in the kitchen, “This is Bonster. He
likes to eat old food waste.” Said Olivia.
“He’s super hungry, please can he stay?”
“I’ll be very helpful,” said Bonster “I’ll eat up
black rubbish bags.
all of your old food waste, so it doesn’t go in
the I don’t take up much
“Ok then,“ sighed dad “BUT you two need to
look after him and make sure that he gets
fed.” “Yessss!” cried the children and they
helped Bonster to sit on the worktop near to
the sink.

The children fed him every day with old
eggshells, tea bags, bread crusts and
vegetable peelings. He was very happy
sitting there helping his new friends look
after their beautiful planet

Bonster the monster eating food waste on his alien planet.
Bonster the monster climbing stairs into their rocket
Bonster the monster peeking out of the bin

Story: Operation Green Shift: A Tale of Youthful Eco-Enthusiasm.

Although the use of ‘A.I to write the story’ is prohibited in in the T&Cs it can be used for ideas. You can learn to see how A.I is a tool for enhancing creativity and not something to replace it. For example I am encouraging you to make your own story using characters from an A.I generated story.

Author Chat GPT. Prompt used-Can you write an exciting 500 words story about a super hero that helps reduce waste, for ages 11-14? ChatGPT (

In the vibrant city of Greentopia, where skyscrapers touched the clouds and busy streets buzzed with energy, there lived an incredible superhero named EcoGuardian. With a suit made of recycled materials and a mission to fight against a unique villain—waste—EcoGuardian was the ultimate defender of the environment.

EcoGuardian, secretly known as Alex Greene, was not just an ordinary superhero. By day, he was an environmental scientist, and by night, he transformed into Greentopia’s eco-hero. His goal? To teach everyone about the importance of reducing waste and inspire kids and grown-ups alike to make eco-friendly choices.

One evening, as the sun set, casting a warm glow over Greentopia, EcoGuardian received an urgent message. The city’s waste disposal system was in trouble, and a nasty villain named Dr. Dumptron was causing chaos. Dr. Dumptron had a machine that was making too much waste, and the city was in danger.

With a burst of green light, EcoGuardian zoomed into action. Using his eco-sensors, he found Dr. Dumptron causing trouble, and a showdown between the superhero and the villain began. Dr. Dumptron, with his crazy machine, was throwing waste everywhere, but EcoGuardian was ready.

EcoGuardian dodged and deflected waste with his eco-shield, showing off his amazing skills. Meanwhile, the citizens of Greentopia watched, a mix of fear and excitement on their faces. But EcoGuardian knew this battle wasn’t just about defeating Dr. Dumptron—it was about teaching everyone to be a hero for the planet.

In the middle of the action, EcoGuardian used his special eco-amplifier to speak to the whole city. “Citizens of Greentopia! We can beat waste and make our city cleaner and greener. Let’s work together—reduce, reuse, and recycle! It’s time for us to take care of our planet!”

Inspired by EcoGuardian’s call, kids and adults alike jumped into action. They formed teams to clean up the mess, picking up and sorting waste to protect their city. The sounds of teamwork echoed through the streets as everyone pitched in.

While the citizens worked together, EcoGuardian managed to stop Dr. Dumptron’s machine with a clever move from his eco-staff. The villain was caught, and the city cheered for their superhero. With Dr. Dumptron behind bars, Greentopia was safe again.

But EcoGuardian knew that the battle against waste wasn’t over. So, he started the “Green Revolution,” a big plan to make Greentopia the greenest city ever. Kids and adults joined in, learning about composting, reducing waste, and using renewable energy.

As Greentopia transformed into a super eco-city, EcoGuardian became a hero for everyone. He showed that even kids could make a big difference for the planet. So, as EcoGuardian soared through the city, he knew that with everyone working together, Greentopia would always be a shining example of how to care for our environment.

An eco-superwoman and an eco superman. Both are in green superhero outfits.
A villain in red with food waste behind him.

Thank you for reading, check out the rest of our Zone website for literacy lessons and a book list linked below.

Literacy Lessons – Zone (