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Flame Resistant Plastic Sheeting- When to Use It!

  
  
  
  

What ?? Flame resistant plastic sheeting, really? Does it come in Clear, white, black?  Flame resistant flexible plastic comes in white and black, but it does not come in clear when it is made from polyethylene.  The reason being that the fire retardant/ flame resistant additive is white! It is common to find this plastic in a  Black plastic sheeting that is fire retardant?  Why would anyone want it, and what advantages does it offer me? What makes the GPS Black Plastic Sheeting any different than what I can get at the home improvement stores? Why is it important to use during Halloween for example?

FR Global Plastic Sheeting

First, polyethylene is highly combustible in its natural form, and makes what Fire Marshal's deem a "VERY EXCITING FIRE"once it is on fire.  Because polyethylene is made from oil and natural gas based compounds, it is highly flammable, and burns at very hot temperatures. 

Polyethylene is used everywhere.  If you keep your eyes open, you will see it every day- on construction sites, in homes and offices, black plastic at haunted houses, flea markets, warehouses are full of it, packing supplies are made from it, toys, auto parts, most foreign cars (just threw that in for giggles!), anyway you get the picture.  Poly makes a fire burn much hotter and faster, and is an accelerant.  This causes people to get hurt, and unfortunately, in numerous cases every year, people lose their lives because of plastic sheeting or other types of plastics. This is why FR plastic is important for Halloween. If people have a candle or a lighter, you don't want the plastic catching fire. It's important to buy an FR plastic that is cerified as Fire Retardant. There are I am sure you can all remember hearing of fires in night clubs, where  plastic caught fire, and many people were trapped.  This is avoidable, and with some education, people can make choices that keep these tragedies from happening.

Through chemistry, the plastic industry has been able to make most polyethylene, regardless of form (even most foreign cars) using plastic that is deemed "Flame Resistant".  First, let's get an idea what this term means.  Making a highly combustible material, like polyethylene, Fire Retardant (FR)  or Flame Resistant means that we take away its ability to contribute significantly as a fuel source in a fire.  This can be done at various levels and there are countless tests available today to help certify the levels of just how FR these products have become.  Some of the most popular are the NFPA 701, ASTM E-84, UL-94, California Fire Marshal Title 19, just to name a few.

To simplify this, additive packages are added to the resins used to make polyethylene products causing the finished product to be fire retardant. 

Today, we are able to engineer the additive levels so that the products can pass the FR tests needed for most applications and industries.  A  few applications for FR polyethylene that did not even exist as little as a decade ago are such things as: Black Polyethylene Sheeting (Black Plastic Sheeting) for haunted houses, Housewraps, Vapor Retarders, Construction Tarps, Enclosure Films, Abatement Plastics, Automotive interior parts, FR tapes, Airplane Covers, Military Applications Galore, Temporary Shelters, Humanitarian Aid,  Cargo Covers, Surface Protection Films, Pallet Covers, Heat Shrink Wrap, Theatrical Plastics used on stages, Dog show plastics, Industrial Plastic Sheeting, Spray booths, and the list goes on and on.

The reason for the increased popularity in FR polyethylene over such a short period of time is that the increase in fire safety is so substantial, and the cost difference is so small that it just makes sense.  When fires strike, and they strike often, using FR products of any type keep the loss of property to a minimum, and more importantly the loss of life and injury as small as possible.  More and more specifications are calling for FR products, and this is a great thing for all of us.  After all, when was the last time you checked to find out if that housewrap they used to build the walls of your house was Fire Retardant?  Please watch for future posts on this subject, because this hot topic is just heating up.

Heat Shrink Wrap that is Anti-Static, Fire Retardant with UVI!

  
  
  
  

At last we have a heat shrink wrap film that has ultra violet resistance, is fire retardant, and is also anti-static! The "all-in- one"  implication for offering both anti-static and fire retardant characteristics to the film is pronounced. This film is fire certified to the NFPA 701. If you are wrapping equipment that has electrical motors, semi-conductors, or cannot withstand static discharge,  the anti-static property will minimize the chances of a spark. Take the Mars Rover for example..it was wrapped with this proprietary film as pictured below!

heat shrink wrap anti-static, FR

 Wrapped by the Shrink Wrap Pros!

Heat shrink wrap film is one of the most versitile, useful ways to protect and encapsulate odd shaped objects of all sizes- (like the rocket pictured below from one of GPS's customers).  Heat shrink wrapping is used becasue it offers a containment that is strong, durable, and require little mainenance.

heat shrink wrap rocket Heat shrink wrap film (often referred to as, shrink wrap film/plastic) is made from virgin polyethylene resin, the most dependable film for the job.  It shrinks when heat is applied, encapsulating the object in a secure manner.  This encapsulation insures that the elements such as wind, rain, snow won't have access to the item.  

Heat shrink wrap film comes in a variety of thicknesses and colors to better suit the application. The thicker films are more durable for more demanding applications. The thicknesses range from 6 mil, 7 mil, 8 mil, 9 mil, 10 mil, and 12 mil.

There are three standard colors.  White is the most common. It is used for reflecting heat, and does well in all weather conditions.  White is often used for transportation as a cover.  Blue is well suited for areas with snow since it absorbs heat which helps the snow to slide off.  Clear works well when you want to see what is covered since you can see through it.

Heat shrink wrap can also come in a flame/fire retardant version which will quickly extinquish the wrap should it come in contact with flames.  Meeting NFPA 701, the FR heat shrink wrap is popular with  shipyards, scaffolding, factories, or any application that requires the materials to be fire retardant.

.There are hundreds of uses for heat shrink wrap film. Ten of the most pouluar uses are:

  • Use in construction on scaffolding to wrap buildings
  • Scaffolding wrap containment for bridges/ construction
  • Marine uses such as wrapping boats, and marine equipment
  • Disaster relief projects for covering damaged buildings and roofs
  • Wrap and protect large equipment of all shapes and sizes
  • Shrink wrap pallets for freight
  • Shrink wrap items that will be transported or packaging
  • Winterize items for storage
  • Environmental containment for safe removal of lead and other hazards
  • RV wrap

If you would like to know more about this product click here, or call 866.597.9298 and ask for Ken!

Flexible Plastic Sheeting- Types, Uses, and Additives

  
  
  
  

What is meant when someone mentions “flexible plastic sheeting” ? What kinds of “flexible plastic sheeting” are there? Are there different types? And what are the additives used to make flexible plastic films?

In its simplest terms, the main difference between the different types of plastic is the way their cellular structure, or molecules bond with each other, and how tightly they are formed. Beyond that, this incredible polymer allows us to add additives to improve the performance of the plastic.

Anti-static Fr Heat Shrink wrap Mars Rover

Which is the most flexible of them all?

Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is the most flexible of the plastic sheeting films. LLDPE is blended form of LDPE where the film has much more flexibility, tensile strength, and more conformability. It is more pliable and softer. LLDPE is used for pond liners or blended into other films to give them more flexibility and extra strength. LLDPE is used for films that need a tremendous amount of strength to absorb impacts while not tearing or puncturing. An example of this is a carpet plastic film that adheres to the carpet. It is strong enough to withstand foot traffic, even from stiletto high heels! The molecules all line up and strongly hold together as the film is stretched. The most common thickness range is from 0.5 mil to 40 mil in flexible plastic sheeting.

Which is the most common of them all?

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is the most common type of plastic sheeting. It is very flexible, most often from 0.5 mil thick to about 40 mil in flexible sheeting forms. Due to its flexibility is conforms well to a variety of surfaces. The downside is that this LDPE is not as strong or dense as some other types of plastic sheeting. It is not nearly as puncture resistant either. LDPE is used quite widely in construction, agriculture, surface protection applications, covers of all sorts, tarps and much more.

Which is least commonly used of them all?

Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE) is the least commonly used form of polyethylene for flexible plastic sheeting. Its positive attributes is that it is stronger than LDPE and has a little more chemical resistant. It has a tighter cell structure making it more tear and puncture resistant. When pond liners are manufactured they are often made with MDPE and blended with LDPE or LLDPE to achieve a strong yet flexible pond liner.

Which is the toughest of them all?

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE, aka HD), has the distinction of being the strongest, toughest, most chemical resistant and least flexible of the four types of flexible plastic sheeting referenced in this article. HDPE is also the most UV resistant- holding up to the harsh rays of the sun without needing UV additive packages. HDPE’s strength comes from its tight cell structure that makes it very difficult for other molecules to pass through its structure on a microscopic level. When applications call for very large liners such as pond liners, HDPE is the most easily seamed or “sewn” together. Used industrially, the thickness range from 12 mils to100 mil thick. HDPE is used as secondary containment liners for oil tanks, and most industrial ponds and canal liners where chemical resistance is needed.

What Additives can be added to the plastic?

Anti-static:  An anti-static additive can be added to polyehtylene to make it resist sparking.  Anti-static films are used in the telecommunication industry as one example.  Certain types of equipment can be prone to sparks which could result in a devistating fire.  Anti-static fire retardant films solve this problem.

UV Stabilizers:  Sunlight eats up plastic.  Perhaps you have seen black plastic on piles of dirt that are flapping in the wind? That is because that torn plastic didn't have any UV stabilizers to combat the strong rays of the sun. Heavy duty plastic sheeting adds these stabilizers for films that will be used for ponds, covering anything outdoors, exposed to sun light. 

Color/Pigment:  It's no surprise that pigment can be added to polyethylene to make the plastic look a certain color.  Just about any color can be created.

Flame/Fire Retardant:  Plastic goes up in a flash if it is exposed to an open flame.  Today there are fire retardant films that when exposed to a flame will not add to the fire. They will self extinguish.  Note that the plastic may melt, but it won't be a fuel souce to the fire.

Sip/Anti-block agents:  This additive is used to improve film to film slipping.

External Coatings:  Coatings can be applied to the surface of the plastic, which is designed to help wet out the surface of the film.  This in turn decreases the contact angle of the water dropplets and improves transparancy.

10 Uses For Plastic Sheeting/ Visqueen

  
  
  
  

There are so many varied uses for plastic sheeting which is often referred to as "Visqueen"   Plastic sheeting is a polyethylene film that comes in many different colors and thicknesses. It also comes in a variety of grades or qualities.

Plastic sheeting for greenhouses

Grades of Plastic Sheeting

 "Virgin Polyethylene" is the highest form of plastic sheeting today.  This varies wildly from Visqueen. Visqueen has become one of the generic names for plastic sheeting, just as Kleenex has become the generic name for tissue. When someone asks for Visqueen, they are referring to a lesser grade of plastic sheeting. The plastic sheeting known as Visqueen has become a generic name for Construction and Agricultural Grade Polyethylene sheeting (C&A film). C&A film contains up to 25% post consumer recycled content, and is made from the least expensive resins available at any given time. While it is excellent for use in many projects, it is not ideal for any use that requires sustained strength such as a tarp or for use as a vapor/moisture barrier or retarder. People will often do a search for "visqueen vapor retarder", or fire retardant visqueen" when they may be looking for an engineered plastic. An engineered plastic is one that is intentionally designed to meet certain measurable criteria to insure its suitability for the job it is intended for.

Thickness

The thickness of polyethylene is measured in mils, which equals one-thousandth of an inch, or 0.001 inch. Many of the local hardware or box stores will carry very light duty plastic sheeting that could be 1 to 2 mils thick.  Depending on the application will dictate how thick the plastic needs to be.  6 mil is a very common thickness for plastic sheeting- but it can go all the way up to 100 mil!

Roll Sizes

There are so many different roll sizes, thicknesses, and colors on the market.  Here are a few examples:

Notice in the above examples that the last two examples have additives added to them.  An anti-static additive as well as a fire retardant additive can be added to make the plastic both anti-static and fire retardant. 

Great Uses for Plastic Sheeting:

  • Shelters or Temporary Protection

When hurricanes strike or disasters ensue, its plastic sheeting that is often used to create temporary shelters.  Often string reinforced plastic is used because it is stronger and will hold up to wind. 

  • Coverings for Outdoor Equipment, Wood Piles, Furnitureplastic sheeting covering

String Reinforced plastic sheeting is commonly used as well as non-reinforced plastic to make covers for a variety of items.  Grommets and hems can be added to the plastic so it can be held down in place.

  • Waterproofing Ponds, Lakes, Canals

Liners for ponds, lakes and canals use a variety of plastic sheeting called, High Density Polyethylene or HDPE to line their basins.  This virgin poly will hold up to the sun and elements. 

  • Recreational Uses such as Ice Skating Rinks, Slip and Slides

The beauty of plastic sheeting is it can be engineered for specific uses.  With the addition of special additives, plastic sheeting can work long and hard for the application it was designed for.  Ice skating rinks and slip and slides are an example of this.  Very large or long rolls of plastic can be ordered from a manufacturer to serve these purposes.

There is special plastic sheeting that does not harm fish or humans and can thus be used for rain collection or aquaponics.  Plastic can leach out chemical especially if it is construction and agricultural grade- as that plastic is mixed with regrind that is not pure virgin polyethylene.

  • Closing Off Rooms for Remodeling
Plastic sheeting partition

With the help of an amazing product called ZipWall which will hold plastic sheeting up to the ceiling- you can close off a room where work is being done.  This is especially great if dust is flying around from workman activities.

  • Abatement work for Lead Paint

Lead paint abatement is a big deal.  It is very important that lead paint that is being scrapped off a surface does not contaminate other rooms in the house.  This is a great place to use plastic sheeting. Anti-static fire retardant plastic is a great choice for this application because the lead dust won't stick to the plastic sheeting. It can be swept up and removed.

There are full lines of plastic that have adhesive on one side so they can stick to the surface they are protecting!  Each type (Carpet Plastic, Tile Plastic, Countertop Plastic, etc) have specially formulated adhesive so it sticks just right to that surface.  For example, you need a stronger adhesive to stick the plastic to carpeting than you do for plastic being applied to counter.  Self-adhesive plastics are great for protecting surfaces from dogs, children's activities, adult parties and more!

  • Black Out Curtain for Halloween, Movie Sets, Museum Work

Black fire retardant plastic sheeting is used all the time by commercial haunted houses, movie sets, aerospace companies and museums to list a few.  This plastic is certified to be fire retardant- thus not contributing to a fire should one ensue.

Plastic polyethylene sheeting has been used for years and years to create greenhouses.  Today there are state of the art coverings for greenhouses that last a lot longer than the old school 6 mil plastics of yester-year.  This remarkable product is called, SolaWrap! It is plastic sheeting with bubbles in the layers.  The bubbles act to insulate the house from heat and cold, while adding strength. There are a lot more attributes that you can learn about by clicking on the link.

Bottom line is, plastic sheeting is a work horse for a variety of projects.

Lettuce Raft Aquaponics-5 tips for Growing Lettuce

  
  
  
  

Are you ready to toss a fabulous salad with lettuce that you grew yourself?lettuce just picked resized 600 It's much tastier, healthier, and fulfilling to know you grew this lettuce yourself. In no time you will have your own lettuce on the table.

Lettuce in lettuce raft resized 600

Tip #1: Get a Beaver Plastic Lettuce raft (click here) which will float on top of the tank/aquarium you are going to use for your aquaponics system.

Tip #2:  You will need a container to hold water.  An aquarium or any clean container that can hold more than 10 gallons of water will work.

Tip #3: Next you need a means for moving the water around and a way to filter it. Your filter needs to pull water through the gravel to promote bio-filtration. Either an air pump and air stones can be used, or you can get power heads that have an active water pump that draws the water up the riser tubes of the filter. This method is called a RAS raft system or Recirculating Aquaculture System.

If you are wondering why we are not adding fish to the aquarium- Some people contend that if you float rafts in fish ponds, the contaminants in the water cover the roots, keeping them from absorbing the water and nutrients for them to grow.  In an informal side by side test, the plants without the fish did much better.

Tip # 4:  Aquarium gravel is a must- so much so that you will need 2 inches of gravel to put under your filter.  Aquarium gravel is preferable since int won't leach into the water.

Tip #5:  Now you need the seeds and the grow media that you will place in the lettuce raft.  

Tip #6.  pH seems to be the key to life in so many areas.  It's the key to the success of your growing lettuce in your lettuce raft as well.  Get a pH test kit to maintain the proper pH.

Tip #7:Good light either from a window or a grow light is a must.

With these few components you have the start to growing lettuce in your lettuce raft. 

 

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Polypropylene- Is it different from Polyethylene?

  
  
  
  

How is Polypropylene different from Polyethylene? Well.....

polyprop structure resized 600Poluethylene structure resized 600

Polypropylene, also know as polypropene is a form of plastic just as polyethylene is. What separates polypropylene from polyethylene for starters is the fact that polypropylene can be molded in essence becoming pliable above a certain temperature. When it cools it will return to its solid state. Polypropylene can be used not only as a structural plastic, but it can be used as a fiber. It also has a high melting point, which differentiates it from polyethylene. One area where polyethylene has over polypropylene is that polyethylene is more stable. Polypropylene has the advantage that it can take repeated motions such as being a hinge.  A hinge made out of polypropylene can be opened and closed many many times, and hold up just fine. This is known as having "good resistance to fatigue".

Polypropylene can be combined with other materials, as can polyethylene. Rubber for example can be added, to make it more pliable.  One of the exciting additives that is added to polypropylene are minerals. These minerals allow a polypropylene sheet to become a synthetic paper.  synthetic paper is essentially plastic paper.  It can be easily printed on. It can be folded, hot stamped, die cut, sewn and more.  Best of all it is environmentally friendly! All of a sudden polypropylene is transformed into a slew of products. Synthetic paper made from polypropylene is used to make banners, membership cards, maps, menus, phone cards, signs, tags, floor graphics, counter mats, and booklets. The list goes on from here!  What is outstanding about synthetic paper is that is is durable, tear and water resistant!

Polyethylene has more demand however than polypropylene. Polypropylene is used extensively in the automotive industry as well as the packaging industry. 70% of the polypropylene  uses is for packaging needs for the food industry. It can be made into bottles, food containers, food crates and pallets.

Polypropylene is used to make house wears, appliances and toys. It is also used to make make carpeting and upholstery. The polypropylene is heated and made into fibers. There are so many uses for both polypropylene and polyethylene.

Polyethylene is inert, translucent and creates a lower static charge than polypropylene. That makes polyethylene a candidate to be a sleeve to house collectible documents.  It is "inert" and cannot product mold or mildew.  It is also translucent in nature so it allows less light through it than polypropylene.  It has a lower static charge than polypropylene so it attracts less dust and dirt.  Polyethylene costs more than polpropylene because it has a higher purity (100% virgin).

Here is a list of some of the differences between polyethylene and polypropylene: 

  • Polyethylene and Polypropylene are very similar as far as physical properties.
  • However, Polypropylene can be produced optically clear where polyethylene can only be made translucent like a milk jug.
  • Polyethylene does have physical properties that allow it to stand up better in cold temperatures, particularly when using it as signs.
  • Polypropylenes are light in weight. They have a high resistance to cracking, acids, organic solvents and electrolytes. They also have high melting point and good dielectric properties and are non-toxic.
  •  Monomer of polyethylene is ethylene and monomer of polypropylene is propylene.
  • Polyethylene has a lower melting point compared to the higher melting point of polypropylene. (this may be a good test for you)
  • Polypropylene is not as sturdy as polyethylene.
  • Polypropylene is stiffer and resistant to chemicals and organic solvents compared to polyethylene.
  • Polypropylene is pure, non-stretching and generally more rigid than polyethylene.

HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE- What's the difference anyway?

  
  
  
  

What  is the difference between the various polyethylene sheeting liners when someone specifies HDPE over LDPE, or LLDPE over MDPE for example? In the simplest terms, each liner will vary by its thickness and its flexibility.  The main difference between the different types of plastic is the way their cellular structure, or molecules bond with each other, and how tightly they are formed.

describe the image

Which is the most flexible of them all?

Linear Low Density Polyethylene (LLDPE) is the most flexible of the plastic sheeting films. LLDPE is blended form of LDPE where the film has much more flexibility, tensile strength, and more conformability. It is more pliable and softer. LLDPE is used for pond liners or blended into other films to give them more flexibility and extra strength. LLDPE is used for films that need a tremendous amount of strength to absorb impacts while not tearing or puncturing. An example of this is a carpet plastic filmthat adheres to the carpet. It is strong enough to withstand foot traffic, even from stiletto high heels! The molecules all line up and strongly hold together as the film is stretched. The most common thickness range is from 0.5 mil to 40 mil in flexible plastic sheeting.

Which is the most common of them all?

Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) is the most common type of plastic sheeting. It is very flexible, most often from 0.5 mil thick to about 40 mil in flexible sheeting forms. Due to its flexibility is conforms well to a variety of surfaces. The downside is that this LDPE is not as strong or dense as some other types of plastic sheeting. It is not nearly as puncture resistant either. LDPE is used quite widely in construction, agriculture, surface protection applications, covers of all sorts, tarps and much more.

Which is least commonly used of them all?

Medium Density Polyethylene (MDPE) is the least commonly used form of polyethylene for flexible plastic sheeting. Its positive attributes is that it is stronger than LDPE and has a little more chemical resistant. It has a tighter cell structure making it more tear and puncture resistant. When pond liners are manufactured they are often made with MDPE and blended with LDPE or LLDPE to achieve a strong yet flexible pond liner.

Which is the toughest of them all?

High Density Polyethylene (HDPE, aka HD), has the distinction of being the strongest, toughest, most chemical resistant and least flexible of the four types of flexible plastic sheeting referenced in this article. HDPE is also the most UV resistant- holding up to the harsh rays of the sun without needing UV additive packages. HDPE’s strength comes from its tight cell structure that makes it very difficult for other molecules to pass through its structure on a microscopic level. When applications call for very large liners such as pond liners, HDPE is the most easily seamed or “sewn” together. Used industrially, the thickness range from 12 mils to100 mil thick. HDPE is used as secondary containment liners for oil tanks, and most industrial ponds and canal liners where chemical resistance is needed.

In conclusion, who is the fairest of them all?  That all depends on your application!  Gratefully there are many more types of plastic sheeting products to do all sort of thing to protect the surface or project it is intended for.  Take a look around our website, and you will see some of the choices available to you.  We haven't listed all our products- there's just too many.

Click here to visit our home page and a listing of our products, and/or call 866.597.9298 to share your thoughts.

 

Polymer

Flexibility

Color

Impact Strength

Chemical resistance

Water

Vapor barrier

Gas

Barrier

Stress

Crack

Impact

Resistance

Density

HDPE

Flexible but more rigid than LDPE

Natural color is milky white, semi-translucent depending on density

Good

Good

Good

Poor

Good

 

0.963

LDPE

Very Flexible

 natural milky color, translucent

High

Good

Good

Poor

Good

Good

 0.910–0.940 g/cm3

LLDPE

Very Flexible

natural milky color, translucent

High

Good

Good

Poor

Good

Good

0.93

Polypropylene

Rigid  for containers

Opaque, natural grayish

yellow in natural form.

 

Good

Excellent

Poor

Excellent

Excellent

0.905 g/cm3

Polyvinyl Chloride- PVC

Flexible to Rigid

Transparent to yellowish color in natural state

Low

Good

Good

 

Some

 

1.35 -1.45

MDPE

Good

Translucent

Good

Excellent

 

Poor

Average

Good

0.926-0.940 g/cm3

Organic Certification- What is it?

  
  
  
  

Question: Please explain organic certification.

Answer:  The following section would be a good read for you.  It was taken from National List:Below I have highlighted the areas of the National List of allowed synthetic substances that pertain to pond liner and other plastics. We are kind of in uncharted territory with Aquaponics so just because it is not listed doesn't mean it's not allowed. As long as any synthetic substance meets the guidelines highlighted below than we do not expect to have any problem with certification. The blue highlight is the criteria that any synthetic product must meet to meet the certification.  Highlighted in yellow is where it actually states that plastics are allowed as long as it is not Polyvinyl Chloride. Hope this makes sense.

§ 205.600   Evaluation criteria for allowed and prohibited substances, methods, and ingredients.

The following criteria will be utilized in the evaluation of substances or ingredients for the organic production and handling sections of the National List:

(a) Synthetic and nonsynthetic substances considered for inclusion on or deletion from the National List of allowed and prohibited substances will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).

(b) In addition to the criteria set forth in the Act, any synthetic substance used as a processing aid or adjuvant will be evaluated against the following criteria:

(1) The substance cannot be produced from a natural source and there are no organic substitutes;

(2) The substance's manufacture, use, and disposal do not have adverse effects on the environment and are done in a manner compatible with organic handling;

(3) The nutritional quality of the food is maintained when the substance is used, and the substance, itself, or its breakdown products do not have an adverse effect on human health as defined by applicable Federal regulations;

(4) The substance's primary use is not as a preservative or to recreate or improve flavors, colors, textures, or nutritive value lost during processing, except where the replacement of nutrients is required by law;

(5) The substance is listed as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) when used in accordance with FDA's good manufacturing practices (GMP) and contains no residues of heavy metals or other contaminants in excess of tolerances set by FDA; and

(6) The substance is essential for the handling of organically produced agricultural products.

(c) Nonsynthetics used in organic processing will be evaluated using the criteria specified in the Act (7 U.S.C. 6517 and 6518).

§ 205.601   Synthetic substances allowed for use in organic crop production.

In accordance with restrictions specified in this section, the following synthetic substances may be used in organic crop production: Provided, That, use of such substances do not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water. Substances allowed by this section, except disinfectants and sanitizers in paragraph (a) and those substances in paragraphs (c), (j), (k), and (l) of this section, may only be used when the provisions set forth in §205.206(a) through (d) prove insufficient to prevent or control the target pest.

(a) As algicide, disinfectants, and sanitizer, including irrigation system cleaning systems.

(1) Alcohols.

(i) Ethanol.

(ii) Isopropanol.

(2) Chlorine materials— Except, That, residual chlorine levels in the water shall not exceed the maximum residual disinfectant limit under the Safe Drinking Water Act.

(i) Calcium hypochlorite.

(ii) Chlorine dioxide.

(iii) Sodium hypochlorite.

(3) Copper sulfate—for use as an algicide in aquatic rice systems, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to those which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(4) Hydrogen peroxide.

(5) Ozone gas—for use as an irrigation system cleaner only.

(6) Peracetic acid—for use in disinfecting equipment, seed, and asexually propagated planting material.

(7) Soap-based algicide/demossers.

(8) Sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate (CAS #–15630–89–4)—Federal law restricts the use of this substance in food crop production to approved food uses identified on the product label.

(b) As herbicides, weed barriers, as applicable.

(1) Herbicides, soap-based—for use in farmstead maintenance (roadways, ditches, right of ways, building perimeters) and ornamental crops.

(2) Mulches.

(i) Newspaper or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(ii) Plastic mulch and covers (petroleum-based other than polyvinyl chloride (PVC)).

(c) As compost feedstocks—Newspapers or other recycled paper, without glossy or colored inks.

(d) As animal repellents—Soaps, ammonium—for use as a large animal repellant only, no contact with soil or edible portion of crop.

(e) As insecticides (including acaricides or mite control).

(1) Ammonium carbonate—for use as bait in insect traps only, no direct contact with crop or soil.

(2) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(3) Boric acid—structural pest control, no direct contact with organic food or crops.

(4) Copper sulfate—for use as tadpole shrimp control in aquatic rice production, is limited to one application per field during any 24-month period. Application rates are limited to levels which do not increase baseline soil test values for copper over a timeframe agreed upon by the producer and accredited certifying agent.

(5) Elemental sulfur.

(6) Lime sulfur—including calcium polysulfide.

(7) Oils, horticultural—narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Soaps, insecticidal.

(9) Sticky traps/barriers.

(10) Sucrose octanoate esters (CAS #s—42922–74–7; 58064–47–4)—in accordance with approved labeling.

(f) As insect management. Pheromones.

(g) As rodenticides.

(1) Sulfur dioxide—underground rodent control only (smoke bombs).

(2) Vitamin D3.

(h) As slug or snail bait. Ferric phosphate (CAS # 10045–86–0).

(i) As plant disease control.

(1) Aqueous potassium silicate (CAS #–1312–76–1)—the silica, used in the manufacture of potassium silicate, must be sourced from naturally occurring sand.

(2) Coppers, fixed—copper hydroxide, copper oxide, copper oxychloride, includes products exempted from EPA tolerance, Provided, That, copper-based materials must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation in the soil and shall not be used as herbicides.

(3) Copper sulfate—Substance must be used in a manner that minimizes accumulation of copper in the soil.

(4) Hydrated lime.

(5) Hydrogen peroxide.

(6) Lime sulfur.

(7) Oils, horticultural, narrow range oils as dormant, suffocating, and summer oils.

(8) Peracetic acid—for use to control fire blight bacteria.

(9) Potassium bicarbonate.

(10) Elemental sulfur.

(11) Streptomycin, for fire blight control in apples and pears only.

(12) Tetracycline, for fire blight control only and for use only until October 21, 2012.

(j) As plant or soil amendments.

(1) Aquatic plant extracts (other than hydrolyzed)—Extraction process is limited to the use of potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide; solvent amount used is limited to that amount necessary for extraction.

(2) Elemental sulfur.

(3) Humic acids—naturally occurring deposits, water and alkali extracts only.

(4) Lignin sulfonate—chelating agent, dust suppressant, floatation agent.

(5) Magnesium sulfate—allowed with a documented soil deficiency.

(6) Micronutrients—not to be used as a defoliant, herbicide, or desiccant. Those made from nitrates or chlorides are not allowed. Soil deficiency must be documented by testing.

(i) Soluble boron products.

(ii) Sulfates, carbonates, oxides, or silicates of zinc, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, selenium, and cobalt.

(7) Liquid fish products—can be pH adjusted with sulfuric, citric or phosphoric acid. The amount of acid used shall not exceed the minimum needed to lower the pH to 3.5.

(8) Vitamins, B1, C, and E.

(9) Sulfurous acid (CAS # 7782–99–2) for on-farm generation of substance utilizing 99% purity elemental sulfur per paragraph (j)(2) of this section.

(k) As plant growth regulators. Ethylene gas—for regulation of pineapple flowering.

(l) As floating agents in postharvest handling.

(1) Lignin sulfonate.

(2) Sodium silicate—for tree fruit and fiber processing.

(m) As synthetic inert ingredients as classified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for use with nonsynthetic substances or synthetic substances listed in this section and used as an active pesticide ingredient in accordance with any limitations on the use of such substances.

(1) EPA List 4—Inerts of Minimal Concern.

(2) EPA List 3—Inerts of unknown toxicity—for use only in passive pheromone dispensers.

(n) Seed preparations. Hydrogen chloride (CAS # 7647–01–0)—for delinting cotton seed for planting.

(o) As production aids. Microcrystalline cheesewax (CAS #'s 64742–42–3, 8009–03–08, and 8002–74–2)–for use in log grown mushroom production. Must be made without either ethylene-propylene co-polymer or synthetic colors.

Lettuce Rafts- Simple Hydroponics

  
  
  
  

lettuce rafts

Lettuce rafts (Deep Water Culture) are perhaps the simplest most economical way to grow small herbs and plants in an aquarium or water container that is at least one foot deep. Essentially small plants such as herbs, spinach, basil, cilantro are placed in the lettuce raft and placed on top of the water source. You can grow your seedlings in a growing medium. One example would be the Hydroton balls. They are placed around the seedling to help support them in the lettuce raft.  The water source is nutrient filled to feed the floating plants. Some examples of nutrients is, GH Flora Series. It consists of Flora Grow, Flora Micro and Flora Bloom. It's important that the roots of the plants are long enough to reach the water right after you plant them in your lettuce raft. You will also want to keep the pH of the water in the proper range which is 5.5 to 6.5. Of course, 6.0 if ideal!  The reason the pH is so important is because the plants cannot assimilate the nutrients well if the pH is off. 

The water must be aeriated so that the nutrients and the water itself do not become stagnant. One option for an aeriator is called an Air Stone. This stone is hooked up to a small single-outlet air pump which is outside the reservoir. Some people like to place the air pump higher than the reservoir so that the nutrients don't back up into it.

If you are excited to see plants grow right away, consider choosing plants that have a short growing cycle.  Lettuce and other leafy greens are great for a start.  For your kitchen you may want to have herbs at your fingertips! Just place your lettuce raft system in a sunny window. Some types of plants may require an additional light source such as a T5 compact fluorescent grow light.  Other fun plants to consider growing are hot peppers, endives, watercress, basil and dill.  What you don't want to grow are heavy bulky plants such as tomatoes, cucumbers, or sweet peppers.

A little hint for success is to cover any glass aquarium sides with thick paper or cardboard. This will block out the light and help prevent algae. When you want to show off the roots to your visitors, simply remove the paper for all to see.

Most of all have fun and happy growing!

Make a Haunted House with Black Plastic Sheeting

  
  
  
  

Designing a haunted house is achievable in almost any location in your home. In case you would like to break from Trick or Treating, why not develop a haunted house at your house? With the help of some fire retardant black plastic sheeting, you can build multiple rooms that are creepy, dark and scary! Of course those lucky folks who have a basements to work with- all the better!  Use illumination and music to manufacture a terrifying surroundings.

Many different house hold accessories can be put to good use to make a spooky design. These things can work with nearly any budget. Old articles of clothes as well as materials, or perhaps previous bottles as well as canisters may be recycled as well as employed to create a spooky home-crafted interest. Continue scouring magazines and get ideas to help make your own haunted household.

black plastic fire retardant

Fire retardant black plastic sheeting plus a garage or carport, can transform that space into a wonderful haunted room. Just give it a creepy name, and have a blast! Positioning Halloween props, creepy sound effects, and giant spiders crawling up the wall will have the little ones screaming. Put up fake tombstones as well as a great inflatable haunted household entrance for the wow factor!

Most likely you will need something to hold up your black fire retardant plastic sheeting.  This is where fire retardant tape comes in.  It is so important to use a many fire retardant items in your haunted house, just in case it should come in contact with an open flame.  Fire retardant plastic will not add to the fire. It will melt or extinquish when the flame hits it.

If you want to suspend some creepy things from the ceiling, consider using fire retardant red stripe strapping.  It's much stronger than most twine, and will not be a fuel source should a fire break out.  We know it's unlikely that your haunted house will have a fire- but it's better to be safe than sorry.  If you are building a haunted house for the general public- say at a school, church, or a warehouse- check with your local fire marshal.  They may require fire retardant plastic sheeting, along with the documentation to prove it meets the fire codes.  Click here if you would like to view fire retardant plastic sheeting and tape for use in your haunted house adventure!

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