this is sort of a general 'permies' sort of question, but since I see that there's a fibers section, I thought I'd try here.
you know those awful, typical, ubiquitous blue tarps? they last a year or so, start tearing and degrading and become a mass of little ribbons that last forever and get in everything.
I'd love to know of a product that was a real, high quality tarp. the sort of thing that you could drag over a brush pile without ripping, something that could be outside in the sun and rain for a year and not degrade... and also something that remains water proof.
any ideas out there before I start gluing stuff together myself?
Not a permacultureanswer, but back when we had a public landfill, I managed to find what I believed to be small 60x40 silage tarps. They were black/grey and are rather heavy. I now use them to stunt grass before planting an area and actually have never stored one of them - it's been outside 2 whole years now. Besides the initial holes, the reason it was likely thrown away, I haven't noticed any ripping and I drag it over gravel a lot. But I've never used it on a brushpile either.
You could probably find some canvas though and use that. Some people I know had sweatlogdes and 2 layers of canvas kept them dry even during 1 inch rains. Something like this might fit the bill.
"Our ability to change the face of the earth increases at a faster rate than our ability to foresee the consequences of that change"
- L.Charles Birch
Anything made of cheap plastic will break down pretty quick in the sun. But fabric, and even cardboard, won't degrade in sun nearly so fast. I have lived in several homesteading situations and found that a combination of a tarp, or even ordinary plastic sheeting, with a covering of fabric, carpet, or cardboard over the top of it, makes for a relatively durable covering. Just anything to keep the plastic out of the sun. Dumpster diving and other scrounging will turn up all of these materials pretty abundantly....
chad Christopher wrote:Look for the name on the bottom of your local billboards, give them a call and ask what they do with the discards. Billboards are rarely pasted up anymore. They are actually giant tarps
Second that. Billboard covers aren't cheap (even used) but they will last for years, possibly decades.
Plus it's recycling.
My opinions are barely worth the paper they are written on here, but hopefully they can spark some new ideas, or at least a different train of thought
I think Chad and Peter VanDerWal are on the right track with vinyl billboards. That's probably about as good as it gets. I'm afraid what you're asking for is made from unobtainium, but the billboard vinyl is likely a close secon.