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Time4Learning Demos

Recipe For Edible Landfill

Model with food how recycling is done at the garbage dump.

Assemble the following:

  • A clear plastic cup which is your landfill cell (or premade tart or pie crust);
  • Crumble cookies (any kind that will crumble) and place a small layer in the bottom of the cup. This represents the 3′ of clay placed in the bottom of the cell to prevent fluids from seeping out;
  • A thin layer of vanilla pudding for the plastic liner;
  • Two 1″ pieces of licorice “whips” to represent leachate collection pipes;
  • More cookie crumbs to be the sand and gravel layer to protect the pipes and plastic from punctures.

Next add the “garbage:”

  • 1 teaspoon fruit cereal to represent organic waste such as food or leaves;
  • 2 teaspoons rice cereal to represent paper and cardboard which makes up 40 percent of landfill contents. Almost all of this layer could be recycled to save space in the landfills;
  • Some white chocolate chips for plastics;
  • Some butterscotch chips for glass;
  • Mini marshmellows for metals;
  • Chocolate cereal “rings” for tires;
  • Top with a small chocolate candy to represent everything else.

Finishing touches:

  • Drizzle chocolate syrup to show leachate, the moisture that percolates through layers of waste material;
  • Cover with another layer of plastic – vanilla pudding, that is;
  • Cookie crumbs for soil;
  • Green sprinkles for grass;
  • Punch in 2 straws to represent Methane gas collectors.

Eat it, if you still have the stomach for it!

Take a field trip to your local landfill and see how your town’s trash is handled.

How could you help fewer items to wind up in your landfill?

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