Food Waste Energy

Heather Allison

Crosstown Elementary
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
Photo Essay (3–10 images)

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Team Name:  Eco Energy Enthusiasts

Project Title:  FOOD WASTE POWER

Date of Experiment:  Monday January 27, 2020

Location: Crosstown Elementary School (Lunchroom and Division One classroom)

Participants:  Everyone in Division One (26 students and the teacher)


We chose this project because we were curious to know if food waste would light up a tiny LED lightbulb.  We also chose it to reduce food waste.  We were thinking that in some places there is no electricity, so maybe the people who live in these places could blend up their food waste and use it as a battery.  This might also save money because people might not have to buy batteries.

We have been very passionate about this project.  Having the opportunity to manipulate food waste in order to power an LED lightbulb has proven to be a very exciting yet knowledgeable experience.  We hope that this endeavor has given us the passion to find creative ways to change the world!

We followed these steps to complete our experiment:

  1. We tested out the wires and copper and zinc plates with 4 lemons to see if the were all working to power the small LED lightbulb. Everything was working fine.  We turned off the lights in the classroom and we could see the lightbulb light up.


  1. Four kids in the class volunteer (thank you) to wear gloves and collect food waste from kids in the lunchroom.  They collected two bins of food waste. One bin was from the smaller kids and one bin was from the bigger kids because our lunch break is divided into two parts.

  1. We looked at what we collected and decided to separate it into two bins.  We put fruits and vegetables in one bin and everything else in the other bin.  The second bin was mostly bread, pasta, cheese, and meat like a pepperoni stick and salami slices.


  1. Then we use the food processor from the kitchen in our school to blend up the fruit and vegetables.  We took out the peach pit and removed the banana peel first because we weren’t sure the food processor could handle it. 


  1. Once the fruit and vegetables were blended up, we put a few spoons of the mash into four glasses.  Then we put the zinc and copper plates into the cups and attached the wires from the zinc plate in one cup to the copper plate in the other cup.  We could have used pennies and a nail, but pennies are hard to find these days.  Our hypothesis was that the LED light would light up with the fruit and vegetable mash because it worked with the lemons that we tried before.



  1. Next, we used the food processor to grind up the other food (bread, crackers, meat, cheese, pasta noodles).  This one smelled pretty bad.  We had to add a bit of water so that it would blend properly.  We added about a cup altogether, although we didn’t really measure it. 


  1. Then, we followed the same step as we did with the fruit.  We put the mashed food into to cups (we washed them out first) and put the zinc and copper plates into the mash.  Then we attached the wires.  Some of us thought that the LED light would light up and some of us thought it wouldn’t.  The light lit up!



This experiment can make an impact because if we can find a new source to light up LED lights it can make a positive change for our industry.  When we did our experiment combining food waste con conduct electricity, some of us were surprised.  The ground up food waste was able to light up the LED light.  This is a good sign.  Food waste can be blended as a material for lighting up LED lights which leads to an impact for our world. 

After we conducted our experiment, we realized we can re-use so many things including our food waste.  People can use this to save power, energy, the planet, and money.  It’s a new reusable resource.  We could help a lot of people like people who can’t afford to pay electricity bills.  This experiment has brought awareness about the ability to reuse our waste to the class.

We also wondered if we could also light the LED lightbulb with expired food, with compost, or with vomit!  We also thought that if we did the experiment again, maybe we would separate out the meat and the cheese and the bread, crackers, and noodles into different piles.