Hi kids, parents, and teachers! Science projects and experiments can be fun. However, be sure to always have a parent or teacher supervising to make sure things are safe!
Science Experiment: Landfill and Recycling
Purpose: To understand how trash decomposes and to understand the importance of the 3 R's: recycle, reduce, and reuse.
- gallon milk container with top cut off
- various trash objects
- spoon or small spade
- science journal
- Discuss the various objects that are to be buried in your landfill.
- Predict which objects will biodegrade or decompose the fastest.
- Record your predictions in your science journal.
- Cover the bottom of the container with approximately 3 cm of soil.
- On top of the soil, create a trash layer by adding various items such as a plastic bag, an aluminum pop top, a banana peel, grass clippings, newspaper, leaves, and so on.
- Cover the trash with a layer of soil and sprinkle with water.
- Repeat steps 4-6 with other items.
- Sprinkle the entire pile with water.
- Use the spoon or spade to turn over the pile every three to five days. Add water as needed to keep the soil moist.
- At the end of 6 weeks or other time period selected, empty the contents of the landfill onto several layers of newspaper.
- Examine each item and note any differences in appearance from when you started the landfill. Record your observations in your science journal.
- Discuss your findings and if your predictions were correct.
Conclusion and Questions
- Which items biodegraded or decomposed the most? Why?
- If you were to continue your landfill, how long would it take for all items to biodegrade or decompose?
- Why would it be important to reduce the amount of trash in a landfill?
- Could a landfill be created in space? Why or why not?
- Why is it important for NASA to research trash?
Reference: NASA SciFiles
More Earth Science Experiments:
Air Pressure and Weight - Experiment with air and discover that it has weight.
Sun Angle and Seasons - See how the angle of the sun effects the temperature and causes the seasons.
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