Composting Detectives- Day 2 of Science Camp

 - by KitchenPantryScientist

Not only are Sun Chips bags the noisiest chip bags ever manufactured, but the company claims that they’re biodegradable and will break down completely in about 13 week, in a hot compost pile.

Yesterday, the kids and I became consumer detectives as we buried a Sun Chips bag to see how well it breaks down in our own back yard.  All we needed was a Sun Chips bag (which had been quickly emptied by my chip-deprived children), a few fruit scraps, and a shovel.  (Be sure to dig in a spot where there are no power lines buried.  You can check with your local electric company if you’re not sure.)

First, we dug a shallow hole near our garden, in a spot that gets lots of sun and put our chip bag in the hole.  We’re lucky enough to have a curbside organic recycling program in our neighborhood, so we don’t have a compost heap of our own. To make up for the compost deficit, and add some heat and microbes from rotting vegetation, we threw in a few watermelon rinds, tomato scraps and avacado skins from the compost bin in our sink.  Then, we put dirt on top of our little “compost heap” and put a rock on top to mark the spot.  Finally, we watered the dirt to get the process started.

In about three weeks, we’ll dig under the rock to see what is happening.  According to the information on the Sun Chips bag, it should be starting to break down.  After that, we’ll check it every four weeks or so.  The bag says it takes about 13 weeks to break down completely.

Do you have a compost heap?  Composting is a great way to make beautiful, nutrient-filled dirt for your garden and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.  According to the Environmental Protection agency, 26% of the solid waste we produce is made up of yard and food waste.  You can go to their website for more information on composting.

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