Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?


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  • ben
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Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?

Dear All,

I'm sure a discussion already took place about this subject, but is there a reason we don't see that many latrine pits made out of old car tires ?
This is discovering a documentary about Earth Ship from Michael Reynolds, that I discovered car tires potential with a bit of shame not having though of it before for pits construction.

Wishing you a good day,

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  • Elisabeth
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Re: Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?

Here are my uneducated guesses on this topic:
  • Perhaps people don't have as many spare, unused old care tires in villages in developing countries compared to industrialised countries?
  • Perhaps the urine in pit latrines could be quite aggressive towards the rubber of the car tires?
  • Perhaps there are chemicals in the rubber of the car tires that could leach out when the car tires are used as lining in pit latrines, thereby polluting the groundwater further?
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  • SharedSaniMsc
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  • Rob Pickersgill
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Re: Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?

I know that, when doing community planning in Esteli, Nicaragua, PRODEL found that tyres were a cheap resource that was very available to the community; they used them for retaining walls, steps and latrines. They found that nearby junkyards were more than happy to supply the community with old tyres, as the junkyard needed to pay to send them to landfill. I think it's definitely worth investigating further!

Source (Also Alfredo Stein is a lecturer at our university, and we did a module on the work of PRODEL)

My little idea (which I'll post in its own thread) is why not use interlocking pre-fab pvc blocks to line a latrine or a well (think Lego but bigger). Compared with the time it takes to line a pit with bricks and wait for the mortar to set, it could be really useful when you don't have many labourers and you need something quick and impermeable, like in disaster response. It might be a terrible idea or it might have already been done...

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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?

Came across this resource on how to build septic tanks with old car tires (tested in Brazil):


No idea if it works well or not though.
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  • cecile
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Re: Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?

This is amazingly simple.!
Whilst there is such a focus on innovative and affordable technologies, research should be undertaken to evaluate the effectiveness, cost and environmental impact of such a technology. Kris and Elizabeth you are both right, many questions are yet to be answered.

The video posted by Ben is no more available, however, the website of Earthship is worth visiting. This is a great approach to inovation and capacity building: focusing on locally available "waste" / material and designing houses, sanitation systems in a closed loop approach.
Cécile Laborderie
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  • gsmikhael
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Re: Why don't we see much pits made out of car tires ?

Ben and others,

They may work in some contexts, however in places with flooding and high water table, they float (you wont have a happy customer!). They also float if / when disposed of in landfills, which is why they are typically not acceptable or need to be broken down.

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