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Re: GSBN:Hey Californians!

Thanks for the response

                            uilder.com       To:     "GSBN" GSBN@...                              
                                             cc:     Joel_Allen@...                                           
                      11/04/2003 10:47       Subject:     Re: GSBN:Hey Californians!                                   

At 1:15 PM -0500 11/4/03, Chris Magwood wrote:
>This email just came to me at the TLS address from the California
>Department of Highways... any takers out there? If the bales are at
>all appropriate, they're probably cheap and arguably pretty
>To: TLSEditor@...
>From: Joel_Allen@...
>HI, I work for the Calif. Dept. of Transportation and last summer we
>performed a pilot program of swathing and baling the vegetation along the
>shoulders and medians of a couple of our major routes in an effort to
>reduce roadside fires.  One problem we had was the disposal of the bales
>they contained everything you would expect to find along a roadside, with
>the majority of their contents being annual grasses and weeds.  We ended
>disposing of these bales in a number of ways, but one question that came
>was if these bales would be viable for straw bale home construction?

I don't like being a naysayer, but isn't this similar to the standard
question about hay vs straw?  It strikes me that there's probably a
fair bit of nutritional value in those bales (as opposed to the
typical grain straw), and therefore they'd be subject to all the
associated problems - self-composting, spontaneous combustion,
insects & vermin, etc - that come along with that. One of the
important reasons that straw works is that it is primarily cellulose
stems, with little nutritional content and low nitrogen content,
making it unlikely to be food for anyone and equally unlikely to

They'd probably be useful for erosion control, if they don't have too
much trash in them and they're used in an area where nobody would
mind seeds germinating from whatever was growing on the roadside.

Or they could be composted along with wastewater system sludge and
resold as landscaping soil (the City of Austin has such a program
which uses household lawn and garden debris, keeping it out of the
landfill and turning it and the sludge into a useful, saleable

Bill Christensen

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