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Trash A Pizza

It may be hard to imagine how much of each type of trash is buried in landfills, but it’s easier to visualize if we make a pie chart showing the percentages. We can create a model by making a trash pizza covered with samples of the actual solid waste that is thrown away everyday.

Our pizza will have “everything on it,” just like the ones you order at your local pizzeria. Of course, you wouldn’t want to eat THIS pizza, but it will help you become more aware of the amount of trash and garbage we throw away and the composition of our landfills.


Glue gun
Utility knife
Paint brushes
White glue
Wax paper
Masking tape
Rubber bands
Wallpaper paste
Corrugated cardboard
Clear acrylic spray (optional)
Glue sticks for glue gun
Stick for mixing glue and paint
Trash to use as "pizza toppings"
Containers in which to mix paste, paint, and glue
Fabric paint-one squeeze bottle of yellow or golden-yellow
Liquid acrylic paints-small bottles of white, gold, red, and blue


To make the pizza crust, have an adult use the utility knife to cut two circles, which are 14 to 16 inches in diameter from corrugated cardboard. Use white glue to fasten them together, and place rubber bands all around the form to hold the circles in place. Weight the layers with something heavy to keep them from warping or bending as they dry. Remove the rubber bands.

Using a single page of newspaper, crumple the sheet the long way. Twist it at one end, and tape it to the top edge of the cardboard circle. Now use short pieces of tape to fasten the paper to the top of the circle, forming a rim. Tape it around the crust to the back of the cardboard. Tightly twist the newspaper as you go, and continue taping every two to four inches until you run out of paper. Begin a new sheet, and continue until you finish the crust or rim.

We\'ll use papier mâché to make our pizza. Mix a small amount of the wallpaper paste according to the manufacturer\'s directions. Tear the news section of a newspaper into pieces that measure about two inches by four inches. Working on wax paper, attach the rim to the cardboard, gluing the paper front and back along the edge.

Finish covering the top part of the pizza with the black and white news section. Now add a layer using the colored comic section of the paper, and continue alternating between the news and comics until you\'ve added three to four layers. Alternating the news with comics helps you keep track of the number of layers you\'ve added.

Set the crust aside to dry, and if necessary, place something on the form to keep it from warping or bending. Now turn the pizza over, and apply alternating layers of news and comics to the bottom. Again, allow the crust to dry, and apply something heavy to keep the pizza flat.

To paint the crust, you\'ll need two small bottles of liquid, acrylic paint. The colors are white and a golden color such as yellow ochre. The white will act as a primer to keep newsprint from showing through.

Working on wax paper, paint the bottom crust white, and allow it to dry. Now paint the side crust and top white. When they\'re dry, finish by painting the bottom and edge of the crust gold. If you wish, apply clear acrylic spray to the crust to help protect it.

Now you\'re ready to add the pizza sauce. Mix five to six ounces of white glue with about two ounces of red acrylic paint in a small container such as margarine tub. If you wish to make a darker sauce, add five or so drops of dark blue. Stir well, and paint the mixture onto the crust. Allow it to dry for twenty-four hours.

Adding the Toppings

The pizza toppings are made from different types of trash, so look around your house and school to see what you can find. Some things you can include are short pencils, rubber bands, hair bows, Lincoln Logs, canceled postage stamps, and bottle caps. Just refer to the size of the slices shown on this pie chart, and try to come up with samples from each group.

To create a more successful model, visualize the sizes of toppings on a real pizza. It may be covered with items such as mushrooms, olives, meat, pineapple, and so forth. It\'s important to consider scale when you select the trash, so choose items whose sizes are similar to these toppings. For example, although you could use a soda can to represent the metal category, a bottle cap or pull-tab are better choices.

The EPA identifies nine types of trash, so you\'ll need to divide the pizza into the same number of slices. Again, refer to the pie chart that shows the kinds of solid waste, and decide how large to make the pieces. Find the center of the pizza, and use a pencil and ruler to divide it into sections that correspond with the slices as shown on the chart.

Since we\'ll not be cutting our pizza into sections, it\'s necessary to do something to make the pieces stand out. Either paint the lines with white or gold acrylic paint, or apply fabric paint from a squeeze bottle. Just carefully follow along the pencil marks, squeezing out a thin line. The acrylic paint will dry in a matter of minutes. If you use the fabric paints, allow ten to twelve hours for drying time.

After the pizza sauce has dried, you\'re ready to add the toppings. For the final steps, again ask an adult to help. Have him or her glue on the trash, using a glue gun. After all the toppings are in place, display the pizza on a pan. Now you have a great model to use when you\'re talking about recycling at your science fair or working on projects for scouts or 4-H!

Tips and Tricks:
To make a simpler pizza, draw a large circle on corrugated cardboard and then divide it into slices, just as those cut in a pie. Look at our pie chart to see how big to make the nine sections. Now glue samples of the trash or garbage to the pieces to finish your chart.

Rather than displaying your pizza on a pan, place it in a plain box. This type of container can be purchased at a party store that sells cakes and cookies. Decorate the top of the carton with construction paper and letters cut from magazine and newspaper ads and articles

The Imagination Factory has a complete lesson plan on trash in our landfill. Go to Lesson 59. Click here to see the Percentages of trash in the landfill to complete your pizza.

This craft reprinted courtesy of The Imagination Factory.

Listed under:

Camp Crafts, Food Crafts, Recycled Containers and Lids

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The Imagination Factory

Listed by the American Library Association as one of the best online resources for kids, The Imagination Factory shows visitors how to make art using materials most people throw away. Some of the activities include drawing, painting, sculpture, collage, papier-mâché, marbling and crafts, and a special section for holiday art and crafts is featured. A Trash Matcher helps visitors find appropriate art activities for the solid waste they have available, and a feature called the Badge Matcher allows Brownies, Girl Scouts and their leaders to quickly locate art activities that help satisfy badge requirements.

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