I used two billboard/banner vinyls to line the "raceways/raft tanks" and was wondering if anyone knew if it would be a problem (in terms of dyes leaching or poisoning the water) to use the printed side up.
Does anyone know if they have any metals in the inks or what type of ink is used and the process? I've googled it but didn't get specific info needed.
I also put a call in to the manufacturer and waiting to here back.
I know the online source that sells them, says you must place ad side down when using, but don't think it was for that reason. The ad will mostly be covered up by the rafts and the colors will mostly only show on the top 8" of block and slightly on the sides. It's much lighter in color then the black back side, so will be a lot less heat absorbing and it looks kind of fun.
There's no offgassing smell typical of vinyl. I am guessing that is the result of being exposed to the elements.
To those who are still researching billboard vinyl: Glad to see that someone is doing it, I have been using them for a while, yet always suspicious of potential leaching. It is hard to get solid info from manufacturers because there are so many around the world, so many chemical recipe variations, plus they have no obligation to be food grade. They are not going to respond with closely-held trade secrets about their recipe. If it comes from China or other unregulated nation, (like the US), you can't trust what they tell you anyway.
So if you get some used banners, it will be mostly a blend of unknown factors. If you're building these for design and research purposes, I say use them with the awareness of risk. If you are building them for someone else, only use EPDM or other certified nontoxic.
That's my opinion. I hope you guys continue to nail this down, it will continue to be an issue, so the demand for solid info will increase.
Michelle Silva said:
I appreciate the link you posted to back up your viewpoint. I have visited that pondliner site before when I was doing my research. The billboard liner I am using is made of polyethylene not PVC. I have posted a link and included the article.
Please read CBS Outdoor's quote in the article below as becoming more concious of materials they are using. They made the change to polyethylene a few years back from PVC. I got my liner from CBS Outdoor and it was free to boot. Please get facts straight before making blasphemous fear mongering posts.
The very large fish in my system seem happy and active and the plants are thriving. I have no doubts I made the right choice in the liner.
There was mention in your post of liner efficacy in the sun (something about you living in the desert). I live in Flordia, in my raft based system I am finding the water is staying fairly cool considering the outside temperature, as it is mostly all covered and the fish tank part of the system is in the shade. The water (therefore liner) is not getting heated up, if it was so then the plants would not like much.
Research was important for me in this process, but I am finding actual experience to be my best teacher.
I wish you luck in whatever you decide to use.
September 19 - Can Billboard Trade Go Green? (Wall Street Journal)
Industry Seeks Environmental Benefits, Profit Gains
By SHIRA OVIDE
September 19, 2007; Page B2
Hank Ridless may be the conscience of the billboard industry.
Mr. Ridless, president of digital-printing company Circle Graphics, is on the forefront of efforts to reduce the industry's reliance on harmful materials, cut waste and use less electricity in its business.
The moves show energy-efficiency efforts in corporate America are broadening to the billboard industry, an old business with a presence along thousands of roads and on buses and trains.
The undertaking by billboard companies, suppliers and advertisers range from new materials for lighting and banners to throwing out generation-old habits in daily operations. With an environmental awareness also comes the promise of improved profits in an industry with $7 billion in annual sales.
The billboard industry faces a long slog down the green road. Some 170,000 billboards dot expressways around the country, according to the Outdoor Advertising Association of America. Nearly all of these 50-foot-long billboards are covered with ad banners made from polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, a petroleum product widely considered toxic to water and soil.
Add to that 200,000 or more smaller billboards that are plastered with thick paper panels. Neither the PVC banners nor the paper billboard materials are practical to recycle or reuse, forcing companies to cast off hundreds of thousands of pounds to landfills each year at the billboard companies' expense and taking a toll on the environment.
The industry knows it must change as eco-friendliness becomes a must for corporations.
"Whenever we look at new products, energy conservation is really at the forefront of our efforts, where two or three years ago it was a nonfactor" said Jodi Senese, CBS Outdoor's executive vice president for marketing.
The unit of CBS Corp., the country's second-largest billboard company, plans to discontinue PVC vinyl ad sheets in favor of alternatives made from a plastic that is easier to break down and reuse. CBS Outdoor plans to rid PVC from certain of its ad faces -- 17,000 total -- by the end of next year.
The commitment by CBS and others to eliminate PVC comes several years after Mr. Ridless huddled with billboard companies to come up with replacements for the industry's standard materials.
It wasn't clear how to replace the strong, proven PVC vinyl with something that would look sharp when printed with an ad, be durable enough to withstand bad weather and be inexpensive enough for wallet-conscious billboard companies.
Armed mostly with "common sense and curiosity," Mr. Ridless and his firm, located outside of Denver, spent two years and $8 million developing a product they call Eco-Flexx. It is made of a core of woven polyethylene, one of the most common plastics in the world and used to make grocery bags, toys and bulletproof vests.
"We're proud that we took it on, and I'm excited that it looks like it's working," said Mr. Ridless. "I guess I would do it again," he joked.
The advantage of Eco-Flexx is that it can be broken down and reused. The banners also weigh about one-third of the traditional 75-pound billboard vinyl. Billboard companies hope the lighter banners can mean reduced reliance on large trucks and other gas-guzzling machinery they need to transport and install billboard ads.
Efforts are also under way to reduce or eliminate paper-plastered billboards, which appear along smaller roads than the largest highway billboards.
"We've been working probably five years to come up with a replacement for paper," said Bob Switzer, vice president of operations for Lamar Advertising Co. "We are probably on the cusp of that happening."
Mr. Switzer said Lamar puts about 1,600 tons of paper into landfills each year, costing the company about $300,000. "We don't want to do that anymore," he said.
The change requires not just new materials but a new system for hanging up the ad posters. Traditionally, installers had to stick thick paper sheets onto the face of billboards using a slather of gooey paste.
Circle Graphics, Lamar and other companies are trying to replace the cumbersome process familiar to anyone who has wrestled with hanging wallpaper. They have come up with a new technique that replaces paper panels with a thin, lighter-weight sheet of material that hangs -- rather than sticks -- to a billboard.
This means no more glue, a major expense for the billboard companies; Mr. Switzer says Lamar spends $1 million a year on adhesive. Advocates also say ad messages look better with the new hanging system, which prevents sagging or tearing as paper panels are left out in the elements.
Lighter paper and the new spring-mounted posters also may result in fewer injuries to the workers who plaster up the ad banners.
A number of billboard companies are also working on new lighting to cut the energy needed to illuminate ad messages at night or the electricity used by the flashy digital displays common in New York's Times Square and rapidly spreading elsewhere.
Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc., the industry leader, with more than 973,000 ad displays worldwide, is converting lighting on its largest roadside billboards to reduce energy use. Instead of the typical four, 400-watt lights on each billboard, Clear Channel is using just two lighting fixtures from Holophane, of Newark, Ohio.
CBS also is using prototype lighting developed from an unlikely synergy between the company's billboard and entertainment arms. CBS's television production team in Los Angeles, looking for new lighting for TV studios, experimented with lower-wattage bulbs and suggested they could be used in the company's billboard business as well.
Billboard companies and their vendors say they believe the costs, experiments and research will be paid back with lower costs to do business. There will be less-tangible benefits, too.
"It's important for us to be viewed as and to be a strong corporate partner," said Don Allman, chief executive of billboard company Titan Worldwide. "And frankly it's just the right thing to do."
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I am finding this discussion interesting, How many of us use only food grade plumbing materials? Most I have seen have been constructed from PVC pipe, PVC rain gutters and PVC pipe for NFT systems. Perhaps there is more to consider than just what liner material we have in our grow beds.
More concerned about the fish than the plants since fish seem to have the innate ability to concentrate toxins. Just because fish are thriving does not in anyway indicate the absence of toxins. Think PCBs and Mercury, yet the fish are doing well in those environments. What other toxins do they thrive in and yet concentrate and pass on to us?
Wait, someone correct me if I am wrong, but I thought that the regular 'ol rigid non-flexible PVC that we all use in our piping is stable and non-leeching? I thought that the only concerns surrounding PVC leeching toxins were when plasticizers such as phthalates or BPA's were added, but these plasticizers are not supposed to be present in our schedule 40 PVC pipe and/or fittings?
There was a big stink here in the EU a few years back and they ended up actually banning some of these PVC additives, but again my (and the European Chemicals Bureau of the European Commission's) understanding was that it was these additives that were problematic, and not the PVC itself. These additives are generally 'softeners' that make the PVC bendable, pliable (think children's toys, or hospital IV bags, or perhaps billboard vinyl)...and not used as 'stabilizers'...
Now as far as the 'stabilized' dura-skrim goes, that would be a UV stabilizer meant to protect the LDPE from the degradating effects of the sun. If I'm not mistaken, I think the guy at the company I ordered from said that some sort of Benzophenone was used to UV stabilize the dura-skrim...
I'm pretty sure that our PVC rain gutters, plumbing, NFT pipes, bulkhead fittings, stand pipes, threaded adapters etc...are safe. Though if anyone has any solid information to the contrary, I would genuinely be interested in that read.
Having worked one summer long ago at a billboard printing company (in the US), I opted to to bite the bullet and pay for the shipping and customs and all related taxes and have the dura-skrim shipped half-way around the world to me. I am NOT saying that anybody's billboards will definitely leach toxins into your system, just that I remembered that a lot of what they used at that print shop was horribly unhealthy, and psychologically I just couldn't get over that, even if the billboard liners were free (and print side down :)...
Unfortunately the solid evidence is sketchy seeing as the regulations here in the US still say that many of those chemicals used to make things like acrylic dishes and soft flexible plastics are still "allowed" for food safe products in the US even though there is also evidence of health risks. Heck, the heath risks of drinking chloramine hasn't really been studied much yet they put it in the public water supplies since it is more stable and doesn't produce as much of some of the known dangerous metabolites that chlorine does.
So, what's safe? Good Luck getting good answers. The Durascrim being Food grade LDPE does seem a better option to me than a vinyl liner since I know flexible vinyl gets very brittle in the sun rather fast. LDPE has much more flexibility naturally compared to PVC. I am skeptical about white plastic holding up under the sun long term though. I'm testing some out.
It's going to take some serious research to really get the facts nailed down about billboard vinyl. There are so many products and manufacturers, I think they're always modifying the recipe, so used vinyl is going to be like a year old when you get it from Clear Channel or whatnot. Then how do you identify the material/manufacturer?
I know that AquaticEco has a food-safe PVC liner but the manufacturer won't give out the info on what makes it safe.
A research study could be done with a wide range of vinyls set up under a range of conditions, heat and pH variables, then regular testing for trace molecules in each set. Maybe it wouldn't have to be so expensive but the testing equipment would be, also to pay to have a qualified chemist in charge of it.
The issues are two fold here as well. First is running the experiments to see what might be leaching. Just setting up the methodology for the experiment would be pretty extensive since you would have to decide on what type of water is appropriate to start with since de-ionized water or RO water can manage to leach stuff out of what is thought to be the safest of materials.
And then the actual experiments to see what shows up in the water.
Finally, what are we going to call unsafe? Need studies to see how much of these chemicals get taken up by fish and plants. Then studies to see how much of that is concentrated. Then gotta get people to ingest these things to see if there are negative side effects. To really know, Ya might have to wait about 75 years for the long term results.
That's right. In the meantime, everyone will start discoveriing urban aquaculture and start using vinyl because it's a good use for a good material, these questions will remain. So, for the sake of certainty, EPDM is a pretty affordable.
The other thing is that the UVI people use the big expensive plastic fish tanks, so digging a hole in the ground with EPDM is vastly more cost-effective. Billboard vinyl will remain kind of a back yard solution. I love to use it for prototypes.
Just a note re: plastic pond liners in a desert environment. I've lived in the Phoenix area 15 years, and I can personally attest that plastic and rubber really cannot survive outdoors long term here. After a couple of years, plastic lawn furniture will literally shatter under normal pressure, as will plastic gardening supplies like a hose reel or sprinkler head (and this includes PVC pipe (I had a 2-year-old PVC hoop house basically explode into plastic shards)....windshield wipers often disintegrate before they're ever actually used, a very inconvenient thing to discover during our rare episodes of precipitation. A typical plastic tarp lasts only months (at best), same with windsheild wipers. I presume this has to do less with the heat than the extreme dryness, intensity of the sun, and the fact that our average high temps top 110 for months at a time.
Any pond capable of supporting fish without cooking them, however, needs to be well sunk into the ground, and at the very least in a continually shaded location, or even covered, and the coolness of the water at that depth should slow down the disintegration of the plastic, as will a lack of direct sunlight.
Our AZ aquaponics community is thriving, and many do use plastic pond liners, but all must use shade cloth and most also use some sort of cooling system for their plants during the intense summer heat.
Vegaprint cardiff providing high quality large format printing services in the UK. I recently order PVC Banner with eyelets online - very high glossy shine and full weather proof material they used.