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Broken Glass and Waste Plastics in a Permaculture System  RSS feed

 
Lee Morgan
Posts: 35
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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What can you do with broken glass and waste plastics in a permaculture system? I have read about using glass as decoration and whole plastic bottles, etc. as building materials. But what other things? Are they good wall fillers? Can you ground up the glass smaller? I heard on Paul's podcast about how chickens like broken windshields.

I broke a bottle the other day and I threw it in the recycling, but I couldn't think of another use for it. I am also in an urban environment. And it was also the bottom of the glass container that I broke. I thought about collecting it up into a metal bucket, but then what do you do with glass scraps?
 
Tyler Ludens
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Just because chickens will eat something doesn't make it good food for them. Chickens absolutely love eating styrofoam, but I would never suggest feeding it to chickens as a good way to "recycle" it. :p

Broken glass can probably be used inside masonry walls as rubble. Plastics, if they can't be taken to a recycling center, could possibly be used as insulation within masonry walls. Here's a bunch of horrible plastic waste being used as insulation in a passive cooler: http://permaculture.org.au/2011/04/01/strawberry-fields-eco-lodge-update-solar-powered-fridge/
 
William James
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Traditional Mauy Thai kickboxing? Glue and glass could go a long way.

I'm in the same boat. I would love to smash up my glass bottles and put it to some use, but I have no idea what to do. And my bottles usually have paper labels and glue on them.

Same with paper. I'm stockpiling for when I find a use for it. I don't want to compost the paper or use it for mulch, but I'd like to make it useful. The worms seem to be much more interested in the dead dandelion I threw in with the paper. Could go with mushrooms, but I don't want to spend another 15 bucks on some hair-brained idea, had enough of those for a while.

William
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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Bottle houses, papercrete, paper mache....
 
Brenda Groth
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mosiacs..

there is a bottle house nearby here that has stood for over 100 years..it is made of WHOLE glass bottles..and a masonry filler.

I would be careful about plastics as most break down in UV rays and will fall apart
 
Rachell Koenig
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GREAT IDEA!! I think i'm going to finish this old rock wall i got out here in glass bottles!!
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
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I'm planning an entire bottle building as our well house, on the Long List of projects. We're working hard on our stockpile of beer and wine bottles.
 
Steve Furlong
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There's an old house not far from me, now derelict unfortunately, where loads of little pieces of variously coloured glass were embedded in the plaster as a decorative feature. I'll try to get a photo up.
 
M Marx
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Location: Los Angeles
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glass is a really poor conductor of heat, so it has some insulative properties.
might be used in crushed form for insulation?
I used to blow glass, and would have a molten blob inches away from hands with virtually no heat moving up through the glass.
the blob would be attached to the glass handle that i was holding
the air around the blob would get hot and radiate heat, not so much with the glass.
 
Lori Crouch
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Location: Amarillo, TX.
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I watched an urban permaculture youtube video the other day where a woman used old wine bottles stuck neck first into the ground as a "wall" for a raised garden bed. In the video she said that most people put them laying on their side and stacked to do a raised bed, but she had limited space in her front yard garden. It was stated that in her climate (pacific northwest I believe) it was useful to keep the garden beds warm. Maybe this could be an idea for you if you save up a lot of bottles and such.

As far as the plastic goes the only thing I've seen with the plastic scraps are the Earthship building projects. Too intensive for me, so I keep the good containers to plant seeds and use as the poor man's tupperware, then put the rest in the recycling.
 
Brad Davies
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William James wrote:Traditional Mauy Thai kickboxing? Glue and glass could go a long way.


I just got an image of Jean-Claude Van Damme from "Kickboxer" in my head from that. I actually incorporate a little Mauy Thai in my MMA training, mostly low kicks and clinch work, elbows and high kick are too dangerous when your trying not to hurt your sparring partner. It turns out the hand wraps dipped in glass is actually a myth, there a few suggested origins, most of them center around outsiders watching it and not knowing what's going on, but seeing many cuts on the fighters, usually due to elbows. They do however use glass bottles to roll them against their shins, it deadens the nerves in the shin and strengthens the shin bone by causing micro fractures that heal stronger.

http://muaythai.dobermanlabel.com/about_muaythai.html

And now back to your regularly schedule program..
 
Lee Morgan
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Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Is there any way to make the glass more of a sand or not as sharp, for filler for example. Like tumbling it?
 
L. Jones
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Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
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You could make "artificial beach glass" by tumbling with sand or grit. You'll need a big tumbler to make any useful amount. The serious tumblers at the rock shop were used car tires, which hold a lot more material than typical "rock polisher drums."
 
Deb Stephens
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Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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Lee Morgan wrote:Is there any way to make the glass more of a sand or not as sharp, for filler for example. Like tumbling it?


Yes, I have a rock tumbler that I regularly throw my broken glass into. It makes truly beautiful "gemstones" out of the big fragments, and smaller or flatter pieces are great for jewelry or other decorative items. Think beach glass. You can put them in bowls with essential oils; decorate the tops of potted plants (over the soil); hang them as suncatchers; add some to your aquarium; mortar them together for mosaics; and so on. If you have a tile cutter, you can even pre-shape the pieces before tumbling to get a better shape for whatever you have in mind after they are smooth. Tons of uses!
 
Kota Dubois
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Glass bottles make excellent building materials since their round shape is very structurally sound. The Romans used wine amphora inside aquaduct supports.

I used them mortared in under my new shelter (built on a dry stone foundation) to keep groundhogs, raccoons and the like from pulling out the infill rocks and taking up residence.

 
Deb Stephens
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Wow, Kota that is beautiful! It looks like a cathedral in the woods -- so peaceful!
 
duane hennon
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99 bottles of beer on the wall (or to make a wall)

http://greenupgrader.com/4262/one-million-beer-bottles-later-and-its-a-buddhist-temple/
 
Rachell Koenig
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Deb Stephens wrote:
Lee Morgan wrote:Is there any way to make the glass more of a sand or not as sharp, for filler for example. Like tumbling it?


Yes, I have a rock tumbler that I regularly throw my broken glass into. It makes truly beautiful "gemstones" out of the big fragments, and smaller or flatter pieces are great for jewelry or other decorative items. Think beach glass. You can put them in bowls with essential oils; decorate the tops of potted plants (over the soil); hang them as suncatchers; add some to your aquarium; mortar them together for mosaics; and so on. If you have a tile cutter, you can even pre-shape the pieces before tumbling to get a better shape for whatever you have in mind after they are smooth. Tons of uses!


That's amazing!! What is your rock tumbler like? How do you power it? Do you put sand in it?
 
Deb Stephens
Posts: 395
Location: SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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Deb Stephens wrote:
Yes, I have a rock tumbler that I regularly throw my broken glass into. It makes truly beautiful "gemstones" out of the big fragments, and smaller or flatter pieces are great for jewelry or other decorative items. Think beach glass. You can put them in bowls with essential oils; decorate the tops of potted plants (over the soil); hang them as suncatchers; add some to your aquarium; mortar them together for mosaics; and so on. If you have a tile cutter, you can even pre-shape the pieces before tumbling to get a better shape for whatever you have in mind after they are smooth. Tons of uses!


Rachell Koenig wrote:That's amazing!! What is your rock tumbler like? How do you power it? Do you put sand in it?


It is just an ordinary (non-toy) electric motor-powered rock tumbler. It holds two barrels at once -- each is about the size of a coffee can. To tumble glass, you put it through successively finer grits just as you would for rocks. I have used sand as the first stage when the glass is really chunky or sharp -- to knock off the sharpest bits and round them a bit before final polishing -- but with smooth glass from leftover stained glass projects or other flat or semi-flat glass (like from broken bottles) you can usually start with a medium fine grit. Some glass I polish all the way through to using jeweler's rouge on it for a really super glossy look, but I like the frosted look of beach glass better and leave a lot of stuff rougher on purpose. Just depends upon what you like and want it for.

I am actually thinking of building a large homemade tumbler though, so I can do more and larger pieces at once. I found a really neat tutorial for one made out of used tires that I would love to try. I will have to round that article up from my saved ideas folder, and post the link here when I find it.
 
Rachell Koenig
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Would you hook it up to a bike? How long do you think it would take? I never would have thought that sand would be for the coarser stuff. So is the finer stuff like ashes? Like could you use ashes in place of jeweler's stuff? Sorry, I've always been interested in rock polishing.. but I know little, and I never thought of glass. Plus I figured that I'd have to have a lot of stuff and it would be an expensive hobby. So any information you have for me would be great.
 
gani et se
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Location: Douglas County OR
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Start making your own beer and wine, and reuse them that way?
I lived in Juneau and there was a group that got a crusher for glass because there was no recycling facility, and Juneau is inaccessible except by boat or plane. The idea was to crush it fine enough to sand roads with it, but there was a problem; glass dust is silica, and there was a risk of silicosis. So they left it larger, and used it for road bed building. At the dump That's why reduce is the first "R."
Edited to add -- oops. I see you specified broken glass, so refilling is not an option.
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