Science Projects Made Up of Waste Materials

Written by miranda sinclair
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Science Projects Made Up of Waste Materials
A compost bin helps to turn organic waste into usable soil. (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Humans produce a lot of waste. According to the Clean Air Council, Americans throw away enough plastic and paper cups and utensils to circle the Equator 300 times each year. Waste materials can make great science projects. You can research waste, make things from waste or experiment on waste, and maybe you can even reduce the amount of waste you produce in the process.

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Composting Project

Start a compost bin in your yard and place your yard and kitchen waste into it. Waste you can compost includes grass clippings, leaves, flower and tree clippings, egg shells and plant-based food products. Try to avoid putting things that have been treated with pesticides in your compost bin, and keep the inside of the bin damp but not wet. Observe the composting process for about two months and record what you see. Are there items that decompose quickly? What items take longer to decompose? What does the end result look like?

Fertilising with Compost

Once you have made your compost, see how well it works as a fertiliser. Plant three plants in pots. Plant one plant in only potting soil. Plant the second plant in a mixture of half potting soil and half compost. Plant the third plant only in compost. Label your plants and place them together on a windowsill. Give each the same amount of water and sunlight. Record your observations as they grow. Does one grow faster? Is one larger than the others or brighter in colour?

Research Waste Management

Waste management involves the collection, processing and disposal of waste materials. This includes residential garbage and recycling pickup and processing, water treatment and the processing of industrial waste. Pick one area of waste management to focus on, and create a visual diagram using waste materials such as newspapers, bottles, paper towel rolls and cans to illustrate how this waste is handled from where it is picked up to where it ends up. Or, detail what happens at a recycling plant.

Parachute Testing

Use plastic grocery bags in the name of science! Ask your parents if you can use any grocery bags they plan to throw away for a science project. Now, set to work with some scissors. Research parachute design so that you can test different sizes and shapes. Try cutting a large rectangular parachute, a small round parachute, a medium-size octagon and any other shapes and sizes you can think of. Now cut a series of small holes on the sides of the parachute. Thread a piece of string through each hole and tie the strings to a weight or an action figure. Use the same weight for each parachute. Stand on a chair and drop each parachute. Time how long each one takes to reach the ground. Which was the best parachute?

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