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Archive for May, 2016


Why Do We Still Use Sandbags in Floods?


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Posted in Emergency, Flood Protection, NYP-Corp News, Sandbags | No Comments »

sandbag 3The use of sandbags dates back to the Revolutionary War when a Chief Engineer was appointed in the Continental Army in 1775. It was discovered that sandbags being used for temporary military forts were also effective for fighting flood waters. By 1824, money was being set aside by Congress for improved river navigation along with road, railroad, and bridge construction. They began offering assistance for local flood disasters when state and local governments lacked the resources to do it alone. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today has the authority to inspect and strengthen flood control structures like levees and dikes and provide supplies and evacuation assistance.

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Sandbags: Natures Building Blocks


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A simple sandbag is made of burlap or woven polypropylene and fillednyp sandbag 1 with sand or soil, often directly on the intended site, and used for flood control in the construction of levees, berms, dikes, and flood walls. Other structures built with sandbags include barricades for erosion, traffic control, and military fortification. The materials used to make them are abundant and they can prevent both further personal loss and property damage before, during, and after natural disasters.

Properly filled and placed sandbags can divert moving water around communities and structures. Repairs are made to levees and dams and used to train water flows to specific areas.  They are stacked in a brick pattern to form a wall and reinforced with plywood sheeting and plastic tarps.

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Hurricane and Flood-Related Emergency Sandbags


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Emergency Sandbags

There are many uses for burlap sandbags like raised garden beds, retaining walls, steps, footpaths in water-logged areas, low-cost green building materials for homes, and added weight in pickup trucks during icy weather.

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Paper or Plastic? Reusable Plant Fiber is the Answer!


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Paper and Plastic Bags

It’s been long debated whether to continue the use of plastic bags to carry our consumer goods. They aren’t biodegradable or compostable.

Paper bags may be a better alternative to plastic bags, but they contribute to environmental problems like deforestation by using at least 10 million trees a year as well as generating pollution from paper manufacturing facilities.

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Clothing is Made from Plants Including Jute!


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Posted in Agricultural Packaging, Arts and Crafts, Burlap, Flood Protection, Nursery Horticulture, Nursery Supplies | No Comments »

We purchase clothing all the time, often without checking to see what the material is made from. There are fabrics we find instantly identifiable while others are not as familiar. Many of our fabrics are made from plant fibers. Those fibers are blended with others for certain characteristics like durability, comfort, and the ease with which they can be dyed for color options. Some fabrics previously not chosen for clothing are being considered for blends especially since new technologies have been able to make them more workable.

Burlap is made from plant fibers like jute or hemp. Burlap is a very coarse fabric, but there have been efforts over the years to use it for making inexpensive clothing with various results. Knitting_wales_slip_stitchJute fiber is used to make Ghillie suits for military camouflage that resembles grasses or brush. While it is still considered uncomfortable on its own, jute can be blended with cotton and other fabrics to make espadrilles, soft sweaters, and cardigans.

Pure hemp has a similar feel to linen. Hemp was used extensively by the United States during World War II to make uniforms because it tends to be strong, insulating, absorbent, and durable. These are excellent qualities for garments that will see hard wear and tear. The fibers can last up to three times longer than cotton fibers. Advances in breeding and treating hemp can create much finer, softer fabrics and it is also able to blend with flax, cotton or silk.

Hemp jewelry is the product of knotting hemp twine called macramé. Hemp jewelry includes bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, and even watches. jute jewelleryWhile this isn’t clothing, it is definitely wearable as well as creative.
Consumers are far more likely to use basic burlap material for tablecloths, throw rugs or other applications like decorative tapestries, pillows, or lampshades in homes with a rustic charm.

Linen fabric is made from the flax plant. Clothing made from it is usually comfortable and designed for a generous flowing fit. Flax was first used in the Mediterranean to make string and then finer strands made comfortable tunics to wear when it was warm. It was covered up by wool when it became cold. Linen became considered an undergarment and was hard to dye so it was mainly worn in white. There are many types of clothing made with flax today including skirts, dresses, blouses, shirts, pants, and jackets.

Other natural plant fabrics that can be used for clothing include Cotton and Ramie. Cotton is still the most widely used natural fiber in the global textile industry because it is naturally soft and easy to dye, but Jute production comes in second because of its variety of uses. Ramie is silky in texture and one of the strongest natural fibers, but Hemp is the strongest. All of these plants can be spun into a thread or rope and woven, knit, matted, or bound.

Get curious and read the label next time you go shopping!