Bill Sitkin says, "At the heart of recycling, for me, is a great love for this planet and the awesome natural systems that support life here. I have always been a 'dumpster diver' and developed a used building materials and deconstruction business known as The ReStore in Crestone, Colorado. I look forward to your questions on anything about recycling materials or deconstructing buildings."
Q: I'm a student from Milano, Italy and for my thesis I'm doing a project for low-cost houses with recycled materials. I decided to work with padobe (adobe mixed with recycled paper) because my project site is Ecuador, where this technology is traditional. What do you think about this technology? I would like also to know how the foundation made with tires work.
A: Here is what I know. The tires are used the same as with Earthships. Fill them with soil making sure to pack the dirt in very firmly. This is best done in place as they get quite heavy and if you move them the dirt may come out. You may want to dig a trench about one tire deep first to anchor the house. I have used papercrete but not padobe. I have a feeling that padobe would work just fine for your project. You may want to add 5% portland to your mix so that over time the padobe would stabilize and resist breaking down.
Q: My wife and I are the gardeners in a small village in Eastern Israel. We want to build a children's playground from used tyres. Building animals - dinosaurs etc from used tyres, filling the tyres with junk then covering them with mud ! We have very little rainfall here! Where can we find material on the net ?
A: Seems to me that since you have gone to the trouble to collect old tires and want to fill them with junk, why not do what a lot of us recyclers do - dumpster dive! Take stock of what you have available locally instead of having something delivered. The cost goes beyond what you can afford financially. Think globally; act locally.
Q: Is it feasible to use tires with dirt for a foundations for steps and patio? Also I would like to build a 30x90 foot greenhouse for hydro tomato growing using recycled tires as a base approx 4 feet high with triple pane top and use solar power for heat and pumps and also interconnect with our wind generator. We are on line with the power company and are a licensed power plant. Any help or direction appreciated. My thoughts on the steps is to use tires with pounded dirt inside and lay a concrete top or tiles over.
A: Yes, yes, yes. Rammed earth in tires is very stable and has been used in foundations in Earthships for quite a while now. If you want your rammed earth to be even more stable add 10% portland to your earth mix before ramming and mix it well. You may want to place some re-bar bent into a "L" shape with the bottom of the "L" long enough to be held by the tires below and long enough so that after placing the horizontal bond beam you can bend the re-bar down to secure the bond beam. This will give you the strength needed to hold the greenhouse down in case of high winds, earthquake or whatever mother nature sends your way.
Q: I represent a small trucking company that has a surplus of old junk tires. We would like to know who might be interested in purchasiing these?
A: (Kelly) I suggest that you try to find someone locally to get rid of these tires; perhaps put an ad in a local paper. I would offer them for free, since it costs money to dispose of them these days. For Earthship building all of the tires need to be of uniform size, and smaller tires than truck tires are usually used.
Q: I want to fix the house we are in. It is a wood frame house that sits on bricks and part of it is on the ground which invited carpenter ants. can i put gravel filled tires under the edge of my house as I dig it out? Should there be anything between the house and the tires? I have no experience building or money so do you have any pointers or advice?
A: I think you will be OK using the method you describe. You will have to replace any damaged wood. If sand filled tires work for earthships why not gravel filled tires for foundations?