Check out this activity for to kids K-6th!

As an affiliate of Keep America Beautiful, KPB mainly utilizes the “Waste in Place” curriculum. The logic behind its namesake is that every single piece of waste, has a very specific place. Whether it goes in the normal trash bin, a recycle bin, or in the compost, the kids will go home knowing the answer!
All of our K-6 activities are designed to optimize S.T.E.A.M. learning objectives and provide a hands-on educational experience in litter awareness & prevention, community engagement, recycling habits, or even composting!
Today, we will be teaching you how to complete the activity “Garbage Pizza”, where you will put together a “pizza” made out of different types of trash. This activity uses math and reasoning to help you discover where our trash goes and how much we create.
Materials Needed
· 12” cardboard cake circle or paper plate
· Glue (red food coloring optional)
· Small paint brush
· The toppings represent the categories of waste. We give a few examples of things you can use, but it is up to your imagination with what you have around the house!
o Paper: newspaper, shredded paper, boxes, wrappers
o Yard Waste: grass, sticks, leaves
o Plastics: disposable food service products (cups, cutlery, packaging), drink lids, bag clips
o Metals: paper clips, staples, can pull tabs, nuts & bolts
o Wood: toothpicks, golf tees, wood chips
o Food: eggshells, uncooked pasta, pretzels, dry cereal
o Glass: marbles, sea glass
o Other: rubber bands, leather, candle wax
Background Information
If you’d like to get into the nitty gritty with your kids, here is a bit of information on Municipal Solid Waste and the lesson behind this activity!
MSW – otherwise known as trash or garbage – consists of everyday items such as product packaging, grass clippings, furniture, clothing, bottles, food scraps, newspapers, appliances, and batteries. Not included are materials that also may be disposed in landfills but are not generally considered MSW, such as construction and demolition materials, municipal wastewater treatment sludges, and non-hazardous industrial waste. In the US, we generated approximately 267 million tons of MSW in 2019. Over the last few decades, the MSW generation, recycling, and disposal of MSW have changed substantially. Annual MSW generation in 1960 was 88 million tons. The generation rate in 1960 was just 2.68 lbs per person per day; it grew to 3.66 lbs per person per day in 1980, reached 4.5 lbs per person per day in 1990, and increased to 4.65 lbs per person per day in 2000. MSW generation has remained fairly steady with the current generation rate at 4.51 lbs per person per day.
Over time, recycling rates have increased from just over 6% of MSW generated in 1960 to about 10% in 1980, to 16% in 1990, to 29% in 2000, and to over 33% in most recent reports. Disposal of waste to landfills has decreased from 94% of the amount generated currently.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) uses two methods to characterize the MSW generated. The first is by material (i.e. paper and paperboard, yard trimmings, food scraps, plastics, metals, glass, wood, rubber, leather, and textiles); the second is by several major product categories. The product-based categories are containers and packaging; nondurable goods (i.e. newspapers); durable goods (i.e. appliances); food scraps; and other materials.
Sauce Making Procedure (optional)
Mix approximately 4 oz. of white school glue with approximately 2 oz. of red food coloring. Apply to the “dough” with a small paint brush.
1. Discuss the difference between garbage and trash.
a. Garbage refers to the only organic or food waste thrown away.
b. Trash represents broken, discarded, or worthless things
2. Brainstorm all the items commonly thrown away at home by using the following categories: paper, yard waste, plastic, metal, wood, food, glass, and other.
3. Discuss the attached pie chart depicting the percentages of MSW (by weight) in the U.S. or draw your own.
4. Draw lines on your “pizza dough” to represent the 8 categories of MSW.
5. Glue the materials found around your house onto the “dough” to fit with the MSW model.
6. Allow the “garbage pizza” to dry thoroughly.