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PostPosted: Sep 30th, '14, 08:17 
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I am designing a series of wicking beds on a 6m X 5m plot here in Taichung, Taiwan.

I'm going to use plastic milk crates as a void for water in my reservoir. They will be wrapped in weed cloth. All around and above those wrapped crates will be sand to act as the wicking substance and above that my growing substrate.

I'm finding old milk crates from all over and it's dawned on me that I don't know what's been in them. Obviously I'm going to scrub them. I thought I would do a soap and bleach mix, rinse them, and follow that with a soap and baking soda scrub.

Realistically, is this enough of a clean to feel safe using them as a reservoir? Can you recommend any other measures to remove any sort of residue? Of course, I'm using milk crates that are reasonably clean. Any thoughts on this?

I know that no one can guarantee anything, I'm just looking for opinions on what you think is reasonable without putting myself or my family in danger.

Thanks

Zin


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PostPosted: Sep 30th, '14, 14:39 
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I think a good hose will be fine unless there is oil dripping from them. Remember your not growing fish in the reservoir so as long as they are reletively clean nothing too nasty should leach from them.

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PostPosted: Sep 30th, '14, 18:01 
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Would this apply to tyres? If you were to wash the brake dust off them could you use them in wicking beds do you think?

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PostPosted: Oct 1st, '14, 06:45 
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Colours wrote:
Would this apply to tyres? If you were to wash the brake dust off them could you use them in wicking beds do you think?


No way - unlike HDPE milk crates which are fairly inert, tyres contain all manner of toxins in them which are likely to leach into the surrounding soil:

"Due to commercial secrecy, it's difficult to find out the exact ingredients of a tyre and there are lots of different types. The list below is from a 'typical tyre':

* Natural rubber

* Synthetic rubber compounds, including Butadiene – known carcinogen

* Solvents: Benzene – known carcinogen, Styrene – anticipated to be carcinogenic, Toluene – has negative health effects, Xylene – irritant, & Petroleum naphtha

* Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: Phenols – some are endocrine-disruptive, Benzo(a)pyrene – linked to cancer

* Heavy metals: zinc, chromium, nickel, lead, copper & cadmium

* Carbon black – possibly carcinogenic

* Vulcanising agents: Sulphur & Zinc oxide

* Polychlorinated biphenyls – known carcinogen

* Other synthetic chemicals"
http://www.brightonpermaculture.org.uk/ ... tyres.html


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PostPosted: Oct 1st, '14, 09:02 
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Read the article, would have been nice if they put a reference in there. I've heard many opposing arguments. I wondered if all the toxins were from brake dust alone. Might have to do more research. I have a supply if tyres which work fantastically at the base of trees. It would be a shame to stop using them.

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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '14, 07:48 
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Colours wrote:
I've heard many opposing arguments.


From who?

I think you will have a hard time proving there aren't leachable carcinogens like Cadmium used in the tyre manafacturing process.

"Cadmium sulfide... is used as a curing agent in tyres."

"There is evidence of cadmium, especially cadmium oxide, causing prostate and kidney cancer in humans; cadmium has been shown to cause lung and testicle cancer in animals. It is classified by the NOHSC as a Category 2 carcinogen (substance which should be regarded as if it is carcinogenic to humans). It is also a teratogen, and may cause reproductive damage."

http://www.environment.gov.au/archive/a ... dmium.html

"Tire rubber is a complex mixture of a variety of chemicals, e.g., rubber polymers, carbon blacks, silicas, process and extender oils, vulcanization chemicals, and chemical antidegradents (Barbin and Rodgers, 1994)... Leachates of tire rubber are toxic to a range of aquatic organisms"
http://link.springer.com/article/10.100 ... 007-9145-3

"Used tyres are both significant pollutants and a substantial threat to human health in the waste stream... water generated by tyre leachcate may contaminate soil, sufrace water and groundwater"

- Parliamentary Briefing - AUstralia's Toxic Trade in Tyres
http://www.tec.org.au/boomerangalliance ... 0brief.pdf


Colours wrote:
I have a supply if tyres which work fantastically at the base of trees. It would be a shame to stop using them.

I think around the base of (non edible?) trees is one thing.. inside the reservoir of a wicking bed, which is constantly wet and is the only water source your wicking vegies will take up, is quite another, far riskier venture I would suggest.

Please don't take my post the wrong way..I don't mean to be harsh, and I'm actually a big proponent of responsible recycling and use all manner of recycled materials in my garden, but I would be gravely concerned for the health of your family if you were to use tyres in your wicking bed reservoir

I think the thoughtful use of waste tyres in earthships and the like, where they are locked up/dry sealed contained in cob protected from moisture, UV degradation and leaching, is a great initiative


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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '14, 08:18 
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On a similar note, I was shocked by a suggestion on Gardening Australia a few months ago, to use old carpet inside the wicking bed reservoir (refer 2:50 onwards in this video http://www.abc.net.au/gardening/stories/s4010599.htm) where it would remain wet and leach toxins into the bed (carpet may contain toxins and carcinogens like toluene, benzene, formaldehyde, styrene, 4-PC, PBDE etc)

Despite a concerned email from myself, and multiple people on their facebook page listing their concerns, they keep the controversial video online :think:

..although at least they responded to my email:

"Thanks for your email to Gardening Australia.

Of course! As with anything in your garden, we recommend making sure you know where it’s from and what it’s made of. We recommend you choose a carpet or other fibre lining free of toxins."

I feel like the Bah Humbug around here somedays... am I the only one concerned about leaching toxins?


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PostPosted: Oct 2nd, '14, 09:32 
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Hey don't be concerned about my feelings... I agree with you, I prob wasn't going to use tyres in the wicking beds although it would have been a great use for them. I'm even concerned about using plastics in there although lots of people do.

And yr right, that is a crap response from gardening OZ. Who would know what their used carpet was made of. And if it was all organic it would probably break down anyway.

My response re references stems from my interest in nutrition. There are so many quotes out there (many from the vegan community) that just aren't backed up. I'm not suggesting that science has proved everything but if there is a claim made I like to delve a little deeper than' I read it on the Internet somewhere'.

I have been using tyres at the base of fruit trees with great success. Bugger. Better stop DH from bringing them home... Makes you wonder what we breathe in terms of rubber dust on roads.

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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 23:46 
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jono81 wrote:
Colours wrote:
I've heard many opposing arguments.


From who?

I think you will have a hard time proving there aren't leachable carcinogens like Cadmium used in the tyre manafacturing process.

"Cadmium sulfide... is used as a curing agent in tyres."

I haven't found any data on how much is leached from tyres into the soil in a garden bed and then taken up by the plants. There is evidence on zinc which is more of a problem with aquatic life than humans. Not saying that there is no data, I just haven't found it. There is cadmium in the environment everywhere, it would be nice to know if the leachate is any more than background.

"There is evidence of cadmium, especially cadmium oxide, causing prostate and kidney cancer in humans; cadmium has been shown to cause lung and testicle cancer in animals. It is classified by the NOHSC as a Category 2 carcinogen (substance which should be regarded as if it is carcinogenic to humans). It is also a teratogen, and may cause reproductive damage." Yep again at what dose? Radiation also causes cancer but we still use electronics and walk in the sun. Dose vs poison?

http://www.environment.gov.au/archive/a ... dmium.html

"Tire rubber is a complex mixture of a variety of chemicals, e.g., rubber polymers, carbon blacks, silicas, process and extender oils, vulcanization chemicals, and chemical antidegradents (Barbin and Rodgers, 1994)... Leachates of tire rubber are toxic to a range of aquatic organisms"
http://link.springer.com/article/10.100 ... 007-9145-3 Interestingly this study used a pH of 8. From other studies, the leachate was more concentrated in analytes at lower pH which would be more representative of a typical garden soil. I wonder whey they chose that pH? If anything I would have used 6.5 or even 7 if I didn't want to think too hard. But 8?

"Used tyres are both significant pollutants and a substantial threat to human health in the waste stream... water generated by tyre leachcate may contaminate soil, sufrace water and groundwater"

- Parliamentary Briefing - AUstralia's Toxic Trade in Tyres
http://www.tec.org.au/boomerangalliance ... 0brief.pdf

Yet they use it for the base of sporting ovals and even in the black soaker hoses?

I'm still not convinced and before my throat gets jumped down, just letting you know I'm not criticising and I am plugging away through the data and I'm not using tyres in my wicking bed. I do however have some tyre potato stacks...


Colours wrote:
I have a supply if tyres which work fantastically at the base of trees. It would be a shame to stop using them.

I think around the base of (non edible?) trees is one thing.. inside the reservoir of a wicking bed, which is constantly wet and is the only water source your wicking vegies will take up, is quite another, far riskier venture I would suggest.

Please don't take my post the wrong way..I don't mean to be harsh, and I'm actually a big proponent of responsible recycling and use all manner of recycled materials in my garden, but I would be gravely concerned for the health of your family if you were to use tyres in your wicking bed reservoir

I think the thoughtful use of waste tyres in earthships and the like, where they are locked up/dry sealed contained in cob protected from moisture, UV degradation and leaching, is a great initiative

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PostPosted: Oct 4th, '14, 23:48 
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Sorry Jono81 I quoted you and then added bits, looks like I amended your quote. It wasn't my intention.

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PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '15, 07:46 
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no worries


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PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '15, 11:41 
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People have been growing plants in tyres for decades, not to say it's a good thing but it is or at least it was fairly common to see.

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PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '15, 15:21 
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The first most hazardous use of tyres is on vehicles
The second most hazardous is stockpiling them as they are a serious fire threat
Chopping them up to make surfaces is imho also silly.

Now from this point on is is slightly more complex, would I use them with a coat of acrylic to grow potatoes yes (UV can be a bummer), would I use them in wicking beds probably not, too many areas to go anaerobic and not an ideal shape. :)

Edit

And in answer to this thread go with what Charlie suggested :)


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PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '15, 15:38 
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Hey Sleepe do you remember the member here from years ago who had fish tanks made from truck tyres? I can't find the thread

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PostPosted: Jan 23rd, '15, 22:45 
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Charlie wrote:
Hey Sleepe do you remember the member here from years ago who had fish tanks made from truck tyres? I can't find the thread



viewtopic.php?f=18&t=11528&hilit=shadehouse
Perhaps.

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