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Plastic Tarp Cleanup

Posts: 28
Location: Southern Idaho, USA
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This is a topic that would probably be better in the toxic gick forum, but I need to build up my apple supply before I can post there, so I am posting this here.

We bought a property and I found some raised beds that had been covered with a tarp and left for who knows how long. The tarp had started decomposing and I tried pulling it out and digging up as much as the bits of tarp plastic as I could. I am now wondering what to do with the soil that is full of little bits of tarp. It looks like pretty good soil so I would like to take advantage of it but I do not want to eat plastic. Yuck. I'm thinking of trying an experiment where I dump it in a hole and plant something to help break it down (that I don't have to eat - like trees maybe?). This property also has a trash pile that I anticipate being gross as well, so I'm thinking of throwing out all the trash and dumping the plastic soil in that spot and planting something remediating.

Any ideas for what to plant on the trash spot to help break down yucky plastics and garbage that's too small for me to pick up by hand?

Posts: 5057
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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Microplastics are everywhere, even in the precipitation.
The plastic bits you can see in your raised bed soil are at least discernable.
You could,with a lot of work, sift them out.

Some fungi seem to be able to break down some plastics and mealworms are noted to able to break down Styrofoam.
I don't know of any plants that are noted for their ability to break down plastic.

I have an urban lot where the house burned down,was pushed into its own cellar, and coveted with fill dirt.
I minimize contamination by building raised lasagna beds for annuals, and planting perennials directly in the ground.

Posts: 14970
Location: USDA Zone 8a
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If I were in this situation I would probably build a screen to sift the soil.

The one the fellow who owned our property left us was made of wire mesh, maybe this is called welded wire?

He used it to sift for arrowheads.

Anyway, I would sift slowly and pick out the plastic fragments as I sifted.

I feel the soil will be okay to use once the plastic has been removed.

If you are still concerned about the quality of the soil, why not grow mushrooms there and start adding organic matter that will build soil health?

Here are some threads that you or others might find interesting:




Posts: 1009
Location: In the woods, West Coast USA
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Sifting sounds good.

Compost has been used in bioremediation for cleaning up soil for various toxins, so use 2/3 Compost, 1/3 soil for a few years.  There are soil tests if you think it's necessary.  
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