- What materials will you need for this adventure?
- What kinds of things do we throw away?
- How long does it take garbage to break down?
- Why does it matter if we throw away lots of garbage?
- Ask an adult to help you cut the top off of your bottle.
- Cover the sides of the bottle with something to block light from getting in (construction paper or a paper bag works). This simulates the conditions in a landfill, where sunlight can only reach the top layer of dirt.
- Add dirt and garbage to your bottle, alternating a layer of garbage with a layer of dirt. Your top layer should be dirt.
- Mist your top dirt layer with some water.
- Take your bottle home and place it near a window – add water to your landfill daily, or as needed to keep the top layer of soil damp.
- Check on your landfill regularly – do you see anything breaking down? Are some items breaking down faster than others?
- Which items broke down the fastest? Did that surprise you?
- Did you learn anything about throwing out garbage?
- What can you do to try to throw out less garbage?
- Take a look at the items that broke down the slowest – is there anything you can do to reduce the amount of those items that you use?
Per landfill (per person or small team)
- Plastic bottle - 1L or 2L pop bottles work well
- Paper bags/construction paper
- Dirt (from a yard, not a bag)
- Different kinds of trash (apple peel, plastic, aluminum foil, etc.)
- Spray bottle with water
- Tarps or newspaper to cover the floor or tables
Keep it Simple
- Make one landfill per small team, rather than per person. Have a Scouter bring them home and bring them back to your meeting every few weeks so you can see the landfill’s progress.
Take it Further
- Did you know that landfill also creates gasses as items decompose. If you add a balloon to the top of your bottle, you can also keep note of the gases that are created during decomposition.