Kelly and I try to track everything about earthbags and sandbags.  Here’s a suggestion I came across on a January 4, 2009 post at SurvivalBlog.com.   It’s another example of the amazing versatility of building with bags.

“We came across a small discovery here on our ranch. We feed many animals and four dogs. So we go through a good deal of dog food in bags. I noticed the similarity in dog food bags to the construction of sandbags. So, I have been using dog food bags as low cost/no cost sandbags. They work well if you keep the weight close to the amount that came in the bag. They don’t rip. We have been using them for a year and they hold up well in our tests thus far. They have been used in areas that are under roof so they don’t get exposed to rain/moisture… We have also stored some [empty bags] and they hold up well and don’t seem to degrade.”


Comments

Feed Sacks as Sandbag Substitutes — 8 Comments

  1. The chicken feed sacks I found recently seem to have a thin plastic lining on the outside with all the products info printed in it. I’m worried it won’t allow the damp earth inside to cure… any thoughts on this?

    • Plastic liners will prevent the soil from drying out and gaining full strength. Use standard poly sandbags or strong raschel bags or tubes.

  2. I am also looking at using recycled dog food bags for an earthbag structure. The bags appear to be less breathable than a sand bag. This makes sense as the feed producers want to keep the pet food dry. The bags will be punctured by the barbed wire and also the opening or mouth of the bag will no longer be air tight. My question: is breathability of the bags used a deciding factor?

    • My main concern is these types of bags are not as strong as standard woven polypropylene bags (sand bags). So as I keep saying, make some test bags. Tamp them hard to see if they burst. See how quickly they break down in sunlight. Wait two weeks or so and cut it open to see if they dried.

      • Owen,
        Thank you for the quick reply and good advice! I will test the bags first.
        My next question: how are the openings in the bags tied off? It seems that bunching the mouth of the bag together is one option that is quick and easy. The other would be to stitch it together which would give a more even joint. Appreciate any advice.
        Thanks

  3. We caution readers to examine the bag material and judge it’s use accordingly. The original post said: “I noticed the similarity in dog food bags to the construction of sandbags.” This sounds like the poster is saying the dog food bags are similar to sandbags. Poly bags are used for animal feed of all kinds, as well as rice bags, cement and fertilizer bags and so on. Any strong polypropylene bag will work OK. But as Kelly cautioned, don’t use paper feed bags by mistake.

  4. I would be cautious in using paper feed bags for construction, since they will degrade if they get wet and moisture has a way of entering structures when least expected. Perhaps this use could be justified in outbuildings where longevity is not as critical as homes.

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