Every time we eat a banana, we throw the peel in the trash. In the fall, we rake the leaves in our yards, put them in bags, and the garbage men come and pick them up. These food scraps and leaves, among many other materials, are all organic (or biodegradable) but they are going to the landfills. Instead of taking up more room in the landfills, could there be a different way to dispose of these organic materials? Yes! Through composting.
Watch this short video to introduce you to composting!
Here’s an Illinois farmer that had different plans and now owns his own composting business. Check out this video to see a little bit of the process and to learn more about composting! https://www.betterearthcompost.com/
Read Aloud: Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes by Nicola Davies
Even Peppa Pig knows about composting!
How does composting work? Role-play and show your family and friends!
Do you know the difference between recycling, compost, and trash? Test your skills with this fun game! https://www.abcya.com/games/recycling_game
When materials go to a landfill, they are dumped and smashed and buried. When organic waste decomposes without oxygen (anaerobically), it releases methane and carbon dioxide-both of which are greenhouse gases. Organic material that breaks down anaerobically also produces acids that could leak down into the ground and contaminate groundwater.
Build your own mini-composter https://www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/make-a-composter
Extension: After around eight weeks your scraps will turn into soil. Use your soil to grow a plant! Grow a few more plants in different types of soil and compare the plant growth and health to the plant in your compost soil.
Become a worm famer and design/build your own worm farm! https://kids.niehs.nih.gov/topics/reduce/vermicomposting/index.htm
Could composting work in your household or your school? Design a plan that would work so that your home and/or school can reduce landfill waste!
Something for Everyone
What does composting look like? Check out this time-lapse video of a vermicomposter! https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/vermicomposting-time-lapse-for-kids
Assessment and Extended Response
- How do organic materials break down? (through the process of decomposition with microbes)
- What types of items can be composted? (food scraps, leaves, grass clippings, etc.)
- What does it mean for something to break down anaerobically? (To decompose without oxygen)
- Why is it dangerous for organic materials to be taken to landfills? (Landfills continue to get more and more waste. The items underneath do not have access to oxygen. Organic material broken down anaerobically produces toxic acids and greenhouse gases)