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Burying glass?  RSS feed

 
Tyler Ludens
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I understand from what Dale has said, that glass is not actually recycled but is instead ground up and used as filler in other materials, generating tiny abrasive particles. In any case our locale doesn't have glass recycling - the nearest place which will accept glass is about 30 miles away. I've saved up at least a ton of bottles because at one time I planned to make a bottle building: http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-product-design/how-make-building-using-bottles.html

I'm pretty sure I'm never going to do that project, but I still need to get rid of these bottles and it would cost hundreds of $$ to have them hauled away. Because glass is inert, would there be anything wrong with burying them under a swale berm?

Not sure what else to do with them, and some of them need to be moved from their present location.
 
Mike Cantrell
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They are pretty well completely inert. To my knowledge, there's absolutely nothing poisonous about glass.

However, I'd be reluctant to bury a big quantity of glass, because things that you bury don't stay buried forever. When someone digs that spot up to build a root cellar, or erosion or other changes in the land gradually bring that to the surface, your descendants will curse you.

As I make decisions about what to do with my little piece of land, the Jonas Salk criterion is ofter at the top of my decisionmaking chart. Are we being good ancestors? Burying glass bottles wouldn't pass that test in my yard.
 
Tyler Ludens
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But might the descendants find the glass useful? Glass used to be truly recycled.

 
Alder Burns
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I've mulled this same problem, on a couple of different sites. If you look at some of the very early Permaculture literature, I believe Mollison once said that if you bring something onto your site, then be responsible for disposing of it there. Otherwise don't bring it! I recall descriptions of early sheetmulch gardens that included what I would call garbage....plastic, fabrics, and such like!!
In addition, on a rural, remote site, the ecological/carbon footprint of the energy used in backhauling the stuff to a recycling center, in addition to the energy needed to process/melt it back down for reuse.
Personally I have used glass, metal, and hard plastics as fill, usually under something like a paved terrace which is a. not being used to grow anything b. relatively permanent, and c. will save me a lot of work moving the additional fill soil. I have buried bottles, etc. above buried power and water lines, so that anyone digging later (including forgetful me!) will run into them first and catch a clue that something is down there under them. And, of course, I have sunk them all into concrete work, which if a large enough project can absorb a lot of stuff!
In the similar vein of "reuse and sequestration" I've used soft plastics, styrofoam, bubble wrap, as well as fabrics and paper, as insulation in sheds and after remodeling projects in the house itself.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you for your thoughts, Alder.

 
William Bronson
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I have buggered my self using broken glass in places that I come back to and change. Because of thi it simply isn't the equivalent of gravel, no matter how well it drains!Never again
I think bottles could be ideal in a sub irrigated planter, if the bottoms were cut off. At that point hey take the place of the typical 4" perforated plastic tubing.
A 55 gallon drum diy ball mill could turn glass containers into smooth pebbles, perhaps worth something, certainly harmless.

As for the good ancestor issue, if you found a stash of 10 year old bottles, you might be pissed. If you found a stash of 100 year old bottles, you migh be a bit wealthier, or even a lot wealthier.
 
Tyler Ludens
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These would be going under a food forest, so, theoretically, not to be disturbed for 50 - 100 years....
 
Dale Hodgins
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I have used glass in a concrete mix, but never used the fine powdery stuff.

 When I was a kid. My father had a pond dug in a former farm dump.  Several of the children got badly cut feet. We had to swim with our shoes on. The addition of ducks and geese turned it into a cesspool. 

A ton of material will not be very expensive to deal with.  You may find that larger towns have somewhere for the stuff. I'd rather see it piled on the surface, with a covering of weeds than covered with soil.
 
Alder Burns
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A drawback with glass containers, or any containers for that matter, stored or piled outdoors, is their collecting rainwater and breeding mosquitoes. In most urban and suburban situations and in a lot of rural ones, human trash like this is the main culprit in mosquito problems; since this water is ephemeral.....that is, it lasts long enough to breed a crop, or several, of mosquitoes, but not long enough to breed their predators, like a permanent natural pond does.
 
Dale Hodgins
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Yes, just like old tires. They can also concentrate light and start a grass fire.
.......
A cement mixer containing a few rocks, can quickly reduce glass to a granular aggregate for making concrete. Make a small batch, for display purposes, then advertise it for free. Or,make fused blocks in a slumping kiln. Lots of complications there.
 
Alder Burns
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I had forgotten about the fire danger! I didn't believe it could happen until one day I saw it happen. A friend had water in a wine bottle in his lap, sitting cross-legged on the ground, and set his pants on fire! There were several witnesses. We were all astonished, and so we set the bottle in some dry leaves and presto, smoke going up from the bright spot in a matter of seconds! This was a unique, very round bottle with a narrow neck ("Mateus" I think is the name of it), and the shape plus the water I think is what did it.
 
Tyler Ludens
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Thank you for all these thoughts. I will ponder this problem some more...
 
Tyler Ludens
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We have decided to pile the glass on the surface and lightly cover with branches, and at some point perhaps have it hauled away.

Thank you everyone for your input!

 
nancy sutton
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OK... one last one... I was at a presentation this morning by Tyler Burns who had helped make the Shambala Farm on Camano Island, in Washington. He showed a slide of a bed edging that was wine bottles, wrapped in towels, then pounded into the round, head first, with sledge hammers (more nuance needed, I think). He said they worked very well.. the dimple in the bottom (now top) reflected light ... and they didn't seem to have any problem with the small amount of water breeding mosquitoes. I think I'll email Shambala and get details :) (I have a few dozen to dispose of.)
 
Miles Flansburg
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Do you think a craigslist add might find someone willing to haul them off?
 
Tyler Ludens
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That's probably worth a try, if they don't want to much $$.
 
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