Easy Banana Water Landfill Emissions Sustainability Science Experiment For Kids

Have you ever made banana water (also known as banana peel compost tea)? I’m a skeptic that banana peel tea is actually as great for plants as social media trends imply but the process of making banana water is definitely a great science experiment for kids to learn about landfill emissions.

We’ve created a fun sustainability science activity for kids to observe how food waste produces gas during decomposition. Read on to try this sustainability science experiment and simulate how food scraps in our landfill emit potent greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.

I’m a bit of a composting nerd. I regularly write about composting at home on Honestly Modern, a blog about eco-friendly living for modern families. I also launched WasteWell, a local curbside composting service in my community to increase access to composting at home for those without the time, interest, or resources to compost on their own. As you might imagine, I’m a big fan of composting and think it’s a pretty important element of climate action.

The Cliff Notes On Composting

Composting is nature’s recycling system. It breaks down organic waste into simple nutrients to send back to the soil and support another cycle of new growth. Composting is an example of a closed-loop, circular system that allows us to reuse resources over and over again to support renewed life on our planet.

Without composting, organic waste like food waste and yard waste end up in landfills. Unfortunately, organic waste does not break down properly in landfills because it doesn’t have sufficient oxygen. Instead, the nutrients and minerals in the organic waste are trapped in the landfill and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, while trying to break down in a much less efficient and effective way. [link]

If you want to learn more about composting, we’ve shared a fun Introduction To Composting Activity For Kids that includes a basic understanding of how composting works, why it’s important, and what materials belong in a compost bin. You can also check out our How To Build a Soilarium activity to let your young learners observe composting in action.

While it’s great to watch organic waste decompose properly, it’s also helpful to see what happens when we send our food waste to landfills. Methane is at least 25x more potent than carbon dioxide as a heat-trapping (i.e. global warming) gas according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, so it’s pretty important that we don’t send our food scraps to the landfill.

Banana Water Composting Experiment For Kids

We’ve created the following banana peel compost tea experiment for kids to simulate how organic waste releases methane when breaking down without oxygen, as is the case in landfills.

You can use any produce food scraps to perform this sustainability science experiment. We chose bananas because they are one of the most popular fruits on the planet and are eaten in many countries around the world. Also, we’ve found that bananas create methane pretty quickly (and much faster than many other types of produce) so it helps to expedite the experiment and keep it more interesting for youngsters.

Banana water is also very popular right now, so it just felt timely and trendy.🙂 But use the produce scraps you have available to reduce food waste and make the most of what you already have.

To go along with this activity, we created a downloadable activity packet. The packet includes a materials list, instructions to complete the experiment, a tracking chart to record observations, and several discussions questions to enhance your young learners’ educational experience.

Just drop your email address in the signup form below, and you’ll receive an email with download instructions in your inbox shortly.

Download the Landfill Emissions Activity Workbook!

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    How To Perform A Landfill Emissions Science Experiment

    To perform this banana water landfill emissions experiment, you need just a few simple materials and a dose of patience.

    Materials For Banana Water Experiment

    • 2-3 small bottles with narrow necks – glass or plastic water or soda bottles will do
    • 2-3 balloons
    • Water (enough to fill each bottle)
    • Food scraps, cut up into pieces or mashed. Banana peels and blueberries work very well, as they produce a considerable amount of gas during decomposition.

    We’ve included complete instructions below. However, you can also download the printable in order to get the materials list, detailed instructions, and worksheets to supplement the experiment and enhance your young learner’s experience performing the experiment. Drop your name and email below, and we’ll send the workbook to your inbox in a matter of minutes.

    Science Video Tutorial for the Banana Water Landfill Emissions Science Experiment

    Here is a step-by-step science video tutorial to walk you through the steps of conducting the banana water landfill emissions sustainability science experiment. While you’re there, like and subscribe to our co-founder’s YouTube channel, Thoughtfully Sustainable, to receive updates on our latest science projects and upcycled craft tutorials.

    If you try this landfill emissions experiment at home, be sure to tag us @RaisingGlobalKidizens on Instagram or Pinterest. We love seeing our experiments and activities come to life in your learning laboratory.

    Also, be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram for lots more sustainability activities for kids. We regularly add activities to our collection, and Pinterest is a great way to keep them all in an easy-to-find place.

    If You Like Banana Water Landfill Emissions Experiment, You Might Also Like:

    Please Don’t Make Banana Peel Compost Tea Fertilizer For Houseplants

    Discovering Density with Kids by Making Lava Lamps and Cleaning Up Oil Spills

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    Banana Water Landfill Emissions Experiment For Kids

    Banana Water Landfill Emissions Experiment For Kids

    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Active Time: 20 minutes
    Additional Time: 7 days
    Total Time: 7 days 30 minutes


    • 2-3 small bottles with narrow necks - glass or plastic water or soda bottles will do
    • 2-3 balloons
    • Water
    • Food scraps, cut up into pieces or mashed. Banana peels and blueberries work very well, as they produce a considerable amount of gas during decomposition.


    1. Prepare the food scraps by cutting or mashing them into smaller pieces. The smaller the pieces, the more rapidly the food will decompose.
    2. Insert the food scraps into the bottle.
    3. Fill the remainder of the bottle with water, to avoid any space for air.
    4. Fit an uninflated balloon over the mouth of the bottle, and place it on a sunny countertop or outside in the warm sun. (Higher temperatures help to quicken the rate of decomposition.) Leave the bottle undisturbed for 7-10 days.
    5. Create a control for comparison by filling an additional bottle with water only, and placing an uninflated balloon over the mouth. Place the control alongside the experimental bottle(s)

    About The Author

    Jen Panaro

    Jen Panaro, a co-founder of Raising Global Kidizens, is a self-proclaimed composting nerd and an advocate for sustainable living for modern families. She’s also a serial library book borrower and a messy gardener.

    As a mom to two boys, she is passionate about helping families be more responsible stewards to their communities and the planet. She also owns Honestly Modern, an online space focused on eco-friendly living for modern families.

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    1. how to record the result of Gas Landfill Experiment!
      in table for example
      type of fruit /// Amount of measurement
      Banana ??????????????????

      1. We made this activity qualitative by having students draw the changes they observe over the time allotted. It would be incredibly difficult to quantify the amount of gas produced or the percentage of decomposition that occurs with this simplistic experimental design.

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