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GSBN: Digest for 11/5/03

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-> Re: GSBN:Hey Californians!
     by billc_lists@...


Date: 5 Nov 2003 04:11:59 -0500
From: billc_lists@...
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 as
>they contained everything you would expect to find along a roadside, with
>the majority of their contents being annual grasses and weeds.  We ended up
>disposing of these bales in a number of ways, but one question that came up
>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

Green Building Professionals Directory: http://directory.sustainablesources.com
Sustainable Building Calendar: http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/
Green Real Estate: http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/
Straw Bale Registry: http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/
Books/videos/software: http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/


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